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05-18-2005, 04:56 PM
The donkeys are hurting for a WR

(May 18, 2005) -- Jerry Rice and the Denver Broncos, each with a need for the other, are exploring the idea of uniting this season.

Rice and Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, who worked together for three years in San Francisco, were scheduled to talk at some point in the past 24 hours about the possibility of working together again this season. Shanahan also conducted preliminary talks this weekend with Rice's agent, Jim Steiner. Now the question becomes: Can they work out a deal?


It sounds like both sides want to make sure this is the right match before moving forward. The 42-year-old Rice wants to be assured he will have a role in the Broncos offense, and the Broncos want to make sure Rice will be happy playing whatever role he does, even if it is limited. Rice is willing to concede he will not start this season, but he would like to play. Denver would not expect him to start, but with as many four- and five-receiver sets as the Broncos use, Rice might be able to get extensive time. Rice already has turned down one offer from another team, but now he will have a chance to talk seriously with another.


Interestingly, the Broncos weren't interested in Rice when he was available last season, but that was for a couple or reasons. It's highly unlikely the Raiders would have traded Rice in their division, to a rival no less. But just as important, the Broncos felt Rice would want to be a starter, and they were set with their starters already. So there was no interest last season. But there is interest this offseason.


It would be an ideal landing spot for him for the leadership he could provide. That's one reason the Broncos have an interest in signing Rice. Denver has veteran Rod Smith and up-and-coming receivers Ashley Lelie and Darius Watts.

The Broncos figure Rice would be a great example for Lelie and Watts, not to mention valuable insurance in case Smith gets hurt. Plus, don't forget that Rice did gain 14.3 yards per catch last season, his highest average since 1995. So it's not like he can't run anymore.


Last week, Steiner sent out a fax to all 32 NFL teams, informing them that "The GOAT -- Greatest of All Time" still was available. This is unusual for a future Hall of Famer to do. But it was not the memo that helped sway Shanahan. He already knew Rice was available. When Denver failed to come away with a wide receiver in the draft, it made sense to look at a veteran he already knew. Rice would like to play this season, and to do it for a coach he already knows, in a system he already knows, makes some sense.


It would be ironic if Rice wound up in Denver. Rice played his final game as a San Francisco 49er in Denver in December 2000. At the end of the game, as Rice was walking off the field, Broncos fans were chanting, "Jerry, Jerry," and they could be chanting it again if he signs.


Should Denver land Rice, it would have as many storylines as any team at this summer's training camp. There would be the story of Rice trying to get one more season out of his magical body. There would be the story of running back Maurice Clarett in his rookie year (and don't you think Rice would take some of the spotlight off Clarett?). There would be the story of the running backs Clarett will be competing against. And there will be the story of all those defensive linemen imported from Cleveland.

Camp will start July 28. Get the cameras and notebooks ready.

From the who care's section of your program
Boston to rejoin Dolphins


DAVIE — Wide receiver David Boston was in South Florida Tuesday night and is expected to sign a one-year contract with the Dolphins.

Boston, 26, was acquired by Miami before last season but didn't play after tearing the patellar tendon in his left knee during a pre-season practice in Houston, his hometown. Boston completed his rehabilitation before the target date of April 21 and has been running at full speed.

Dolphins coach Nick Saban released Boston in March, but always kept the door open for a return. Boston explored reuniting with former receivers coach Jerry Sullivan in San Francisco, but first-year coach Mike Nolan decided against it.

Boston, a first-round draft choice of the Arizona Cardinals in 1999, had 1,156 and 1,598 receiving yards for the club in 2000 and 2001, but lasted only one tumultuous season in San Diego after signing a free-agent contract there in 2003.

When healthy, Boston has explosive speed and a muscular, 6-foot-2, 240-pound frame that makes him one of the most dangerous receivers in the league. But there are off-the-field concerns.

Boston was suspended by the NFL for four games in December after testing positive for steroids, and although he won't miss any further action, he forfeited $1.34 million of his $5.35 million salary.

In a statement, Boston, long the subject of suspicion in NFL circles, denied taking anabolic steroids and said he had tested positive for a "related substance." Boston is subject to stringent testing according to NFL rules.

In October, while rehabilitating in Burlington, Vt., Boston was charged with assault after allegedly punching a ticket attendant at the local airport. Boston, whose eccentric personality clashed with Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer as well as San Diego's strength coach and some players, was not a locker-room distraction in his brief time in Miami.

Boston could provide a boost to Miami's offense, now designed by former Minnesota Vikings coordinator Scott Linehan. The Dolphins added former Vikings quarterback Gus Frerotte to compete with A.J. Feeley, drafted Auburn running back Ronnie Brown in the first round, added offensive tackle Stockar McDougle and will have Boston to complement receivers Chris Chambers and Marty Booker.

Noteworthy: Defensive tackle Larry Chester had his surgically repaired knee scoped two weeks ago, but he made his weigh-in at 338 pounds on Monday, triggering a bonus, and he plans to play this season. Chester expects to return to practice in August. "These rumors of retirement are not true," David Levine, Chester's agent, said. "Larry said to me, 'Why would I be working this hard to train and rehab if I wasn't going to play?' "

End in sight for Bears' McQuarters

http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/cs-050517bearsmcquarters,1,2808085,print.story?coll=c s-home-headlines&ctrack=1&cset=true

May 18, 2005

When the Bears gather at Halas Hall for their three-day mini-camp Friday, one of their veterans who is on the trading block will be there and one won't.

Placekicker Paul Edinger will be on hand to greet newly signed challenger Doug Brien.

But cornerback R.W. McQuarters won't be there, sources said, presaging the end of his Bears career after five seasons. He is expected to be released if the Bears can't make a trade, unlikely given his salary.

McQuarters is scheduled to make $3.05 million in 2005, a bit pricey for a punt returner and backup cornerback. Charles Tillman and Jerry Azumah are set as starters, and the Bears already have engaged in preliminary talks to re-sign Azumah, who is scheduled to be a free agent after the 2005 season. Tillman is signed through 2007, and the Bears like the potential of Nathan Vasher, a fourth-round pick last year who led the Bears with five interceptions.

In 2000, the Bears acquired McQuarters from San Francisco, which drafted him out of Oklahoma State on the first round in 1998, for a 2001 sixth-round pick. He came into his own in the 13-3 season of 2001, getting a $5.5 million signing bonus as part of a five-year deal that has two years remaining.

The mini-camp will feature the return of injured quarterback Rex Grossman.

Hunter Hillenmeyer will get another chance to show he can be the starting strong-side linebacker. The Bears have decided not to sign former Seattle starter Anthony Simmons, who has been slowed by an assortment of injuries the last three years.

05-18-2005, 05:11 PM

Wide receiver Johnnie Morton was one of only a handful of Chiefs starters absent from the first day of offseason practice Tuesday.

Morton’s absence was different because it was at the request of the team. He was excused from all the spring practices, indicating the Chiefs are serious in their intentions to release Morton in June if he doesn’t accept a restructured contract.

President/general manager Carl Peterson and coach Dick Vermeil wouldn’t elaborate on Morton’s situation, but Peterson said, “Ask me about it on the second of June.”

Morton wasn’t available to speak on the situation, and his agent, David Dunn, didn’t return a phone message.

A source familiar with the situation said the Chiefs asked Morton for the second straight year to renegotiate his contract to a lower salary. Like last year, Morton has refused.

The Chiefs may eventually invite Morton back, but only at a salary lower than his current $3 million. The notice to stay clear of practice was intended as a message to Morton that he will be released if he continues to refuse the pay cut.

The Chiefs have been considering releasing Morton in June for some time, but the latest move marks an abrupt switch of strategy. As of late last week, they were expecting Morton to participate in Tuesday’s practice. They also planned to look at some of their younger receivers before making a decision on Morton.

One of those younger receivers, Samie Parker, took Morton’s place in the starting lineup and had a standout practice. Another, rookie Craphonzo Thorpe, struggled by dropping several passes.

“They probably figure we’re all ready to play,” Parker said. “We have a lot of guys capable of making plays, including myself. If we all produce like we’re capable of, there’s no telling what kind of receiving corps we can have this year.”

Parker played little as a rookie last year until the season’s final month, but then he played well. Parker, who had nine catches and a touchdown in the last three games, has the most to gain from Morton’s possible departure.

“I thought he was ready to play at the end of last year,” Peterson said. “When he got the opportunity to play, he really showed what he’s capable of doing. I’m a Samie Parker guy. He’ll do very, very well.”

Eddie Kennison is the other starting receiver, and Dante Hall will play out of the slot. Thorpe, Marc Boerigter, Chris Horn and Darrell Hill are also competing for jobs. Neither Boerigter nor Horn is practicing. They are recovering from knee surgeries.

“If that’s what this is, I guess you could look at it as a vote of confidence for all the other receivers, but it’s all up in the air,” Boerigter said. “We’ve got June 1 coming up, and somebody might become available.”

Peterson obviously believes the Chiefs can survive at wide receiver without the 33-year-old Morton.

“When we get to camp and get the pads on, then I’ll really be able to see what this football team looks like,” Peterson said. “But at this point, I’m comfortable with where we are at wide receiver.”

The Chiefs had one veteran wide receiver, Baltimore’s Kevin Johnson, in for a free-agent visit before the draft, but he signed instead with Detroit. They have yet to make a move for Freddie Mitchell, recently released by Philadelphia.

“We’ve discussed him, but we’re not interested at this point,” Peterson said.

The Chiefs would save more than Morton’s scheduled $3 million salary by waiting until June to release him.

They would also save an additional $2.4 million against their salary cap, and his total cost for this season would be about $786,000.

Morton never became the big production receiver the Chiefs envisioned when they signed him from the Lions as a free agent in 2002. Morton had more than 1,000 yards in four of his last five seasons in Detroit but didn’t come close to that in either of his first two years with the Chiefs.

His best season with the Chiefs was the last one, when he caught 55 passes for 795 yards despite missing the last three games because of a knee injury.

“It’s kind of surprising because he was having a great year before he got hurt,” Boerigter said. “He was on pace for 1,000 yards.”

Status of Winslow injury to be known


The Browns may know the full extent of damage to Kellen Winslow Jr.'s right knee today.

A team source said that reduced swelling in the knee enabled Winslow to have another magnetic resonance imaging test on Tuesday. Doctors should consult today with the club and Winslow family to determined the next course of action.

Winslow probably would opt to get a second opinion before major surgery is scheduled.

Winslow injured the knee in a motorcycle accident on May 1. The team has feared Winslow suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament, which would keep him out for the 2005 season.

Other undisclosed injuries suffered in the accident were not as serious as the knee.

Invitation only:

The Browns will take a closer look at about 12 unsigned veterans at their facility today and Thursday.

"We want to gauge what's out there relative to what we have on the team right now," said General Manager Phil Savage.

Some of them did not play in 2004 because of injury, such as ex-Tampa Bay guard Kerry Jenkins. Others, like former Tennessee and Atlanta quarterback Doug Johnson, are free agents who have not found new teams yet.

Savage would not disclose the full list of tryouts. He said no signings are imminent.


Savage said the Browns would not make an offer to linebacker Peter Boulware, recently released by Baltimore, until he is examined medically. But no visit to Berea has been set by Boulware. . . . Since Michigan's academic year has ended, No. 1 draft pick Braylon Edwards will be able to participate in the Browns' passing camp, beginning next week. . . . Savage is not excited about the prospective pool of veterans becoming available after June 1. The date used to open up a secondary free-agent market in the NFL, but most teams now clean up their rosters in March and fewer players become available in June.

Rich Eisen of the NFL Network has said: KW jr has a torn ACL and is out for the season

05-18-2005, 10:47 PM
FTWBolt - Sammie Parker was a very good WR at Oregon. Once he can learn the Chiefs offense he'll be a treat - he can catch and he is elusive after the catch. I was hoping we may get him and I don't like that the Chiefs got him - he's probably the reason they think they can send Mortin packing.

05-19-2005, 07:50 PM
Kick returner expendable after offseason pickups


J.J. Moses makes a living being chased around the football field.

But he couldn't outrun the inevitable.

The Texans released Moses, one of the most popular players in the team's three seasons, on Wednesday after upgrading the list of challengers for the kickoff and punt return duties this offseason.

The Texans signed unrestricted free-agent Marcellus Rivers to take Moses' spot on the roster. The need for a tight end became paramount with the loss of Bennie Joppru to a torn knee ligament earlier this week.

Moses' two-year tenure as the primary returner was marked by reliable hands (he had only one fumble in 72 punt returns) but an otherwise ineffective, unspectacular performance. The Texans failed to score a touchdown on a kickoff or punt the past two seasons and finished in the bottom half of the AFC in both categories.

Moses, 25, was expected to be a long shot during training camp this summer with the Texans placing a high priority on upgrading return talent during the offseason.

"As happens in this league, you have to make tough decisions that you feel are in the best interest of the team," coach Dom Capers said.

Among the list of candidates to replace Moses are wide receiver Reggie Swinton, newly acquired cornerback Phillip Buchanon and fourth-round selection Jerome Mathis.

Capers said "several other" current players on the roster could be considered, presumably wide receivers Jabar Gaffney and Kendrick Starling and backup running back Tony Hollings. Gaffney handled kickoff duties when Moses missed the next-to-last game of the season against Jacksonville with a sprained ankle.

"Your hope is to get good competition at every position," Capers said, "and that brings out the best in everybody. We have several options."

Capers said the timing of the move was to satisfy the team's need for a fourth tight end and to give Moses the opportunity to find work. Moses, the NFL's shortest player last season at 5-6, put the Texans at a disadvantage in regards to roster flexibility with his inability to be used at wide receiver.

"We just felt J.J. was not getting any reps as a receiver," Capers said. "We thought it would be in the best interest releasing him now so he could catch on with another team."

Moses ranked 19th in punt return average (8.2 yards) and 20th on kickoffs (21.0 yards) last season. During his two seasons, Moses had some electrifying returns, although he was mostly a zig-zagging tease, and he lacked downfield speed and was prone to getting caught from behind.

Capers said he has no preference whether the kickoff and punt duties are handled by two players or one. He also wouldn't hesitate to use a starter such as Buchanon despite the risk of injury.

"We have to go through this process," Capers said. I've been around places where the return man was a starter. If that's what we think it takes to win, that's what we will do."

In four seasons with the New York Giants, Rivers caught 27 passes for 227 yards and four touchdowns. He'll join a depth chart that includes Mark Bruener, Billy Miller and Matt Murphy.



Move to safety pleases Bartee

In the most spectacular play from Chiefs practice Wednesday, William Bartee hustled to the sideline from his new position at safety and leaped high over Samie Parker to make an interception.

It’s early, but the Chiefs’ decision to move Bartee from cornerback looks like a good one. Bartee played like it in practice Wednesday and said he felt like it afterward.

“It takes a lot of stress off,” said Bartee, who struggled at corner since joining the Chiefs as their second-round draft pick in 2000. “You can be a lot more relaxed at safety. I feel a lot more comfortable out there. This is the best move I could have made. I felt natural at corner, but I think my best position is safety.”

Bartee played a lot of safety in college and appears to have the skills to play the position in the pros. He covers a lot of ground, tackles well and will play facing the ball. His biggest problem at cornerback came when he turned to run with a receiver and lost track of the ball.

With Patrick Surtain, Eric Warfield, Dexter McCleon, Julian Battle, Benny Sapp and rookie Alphonso Hodge at cornerback, the Chiefs may be tempted to make the move with Bartee permanent.

“Right now we’re saying it is, if everything goes right at the corner position,” coach Dick Vermeil said.

Gary Stills also is playing a new position, shifting to outside linebacker from defensive end. The 250-pound Stills is undersized for an end and never found a home there.

The Chiefs have only seven healthy linebackers, so Stills has a better chance of helping the Chiefs at his new spot.

“I feel like I can do a lot more playing in space than confining myself to a small room with a bunch of big guys,” Stills said. “Hopefully, this will prolong my career. I want to be an integral part of the defense.”

¦ HOLMES ARRIVES: Priest Holmes practiced for the first time, and the Chiefs wasted little time getting him back into the mix. On one of the first plays of the day, they threw a familiar screen pass to Holmes, and only a great play by Kendrell Bell prevented what would have been a big gain.

Vermeil then trotted down the field to welcome Holmes back.



The Smith talks: Negotiations for first-round quarterback Alex Smith continue, according to 49ers chief negotiator Paraag Marathe.

"We talk about three times a week," Marathe said of his conversations with Smith's agent, Tom Condon. The talks have been amicable and switch between value and contract language. Marathe anticipates the contract to be about 70 pages long.

While Marathe admits the two sides haven't settled on the final numbers, the six-year deal is expected to be in the $58 million to $60 million range with $22 million-$25 million guaranteed. That is based on the six-year, $54 million contract Eli Manning -- also a Condon client -- received from the Giants last year.


3-4 plans http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/sports/11684914.htm

Coach Bill Parcells confirmed that he intends to implement the 3-4 alignment as the Cowboys' base defense in 2005. However, he said a final decision won't be made until he sees how the players perform in minicamp and training camp. Parcells said the Cowboys will also still use the 4-3.

05-19-2005, 11:29 PM
I was watching the NFL Network last night and they were talking to the GM of the Chiefs. He was saying that Derrick Johnson is coming along nicely and will definately start. He ended the discussion by comparing Derrick Johnson to the late great Chief Derrick (sp?) Thomas and Donnie Edwards..... quite the compliment in my opinion!

05-20-2005, 07:39 AM
I was watching the NFL Network last night and they were talking to the GM of the Chiefs. He was saying that Derrick Johnson is coming along nicely and will definately start. He ended the discussion by comparing Derrick Johnson to the late great Chief Derrick (sp?) Thomas and Donnie Edwards..... quite the compliment in my opinion!
You didn't expect the GM to say he made a mistake on Johnson did you? :) I don't know if Johnson can be as good as Thomas or Edwards but I think the 4/3 is the right defense for his skills so he should do well in KC.

05-20-2005, 07:20 PM
Anybody else notice a trend here ? These agent's are getting out of hand !

Controversial agent is seeking new contract for Najeh Davenport but insists halfback won't hold out


As if the Green Bay Packers haven't had enough of Drew Rosenhaus for a second straight off-season, now comes this bombshell straight from the mouth of the calculating superagent.

Reached Wednesday by telephone, Rosenhaus said he was recently hired by Packers halfback Najeh Davenport to be his agent. What's more, Rosenhaus is after a new contract for his new client.

Sound all too familiar?

Rosenhaus, though, gave assurances that Davenport won't be following the holdout lead of two other clients in Green Bay the last two years: wide receiver Javon Walker and cornerback Mike McKenzie.

"He won't miss any (practice) time or anything. But, it would be, I think, productive for both sides to get a long-term deal done," Rosenhaus said.

The Packers signed Davenport, who previously was represented by Michael Harrison, to a one-year contract last month.

Davenport was a restricted free agent who essentially signed for the low tender placed on him. However, his base salary of $656,000 was reduced to $641,000, in exchange for the Packers' reportedly giving him a $100,000 advance from the salary, which isn't paid out in weekly installments until the season starts.

"I've mentioned to the Packers that we would like to get an extension done for him," Rosenhaus said. "I'm looking forward to working with the Packers on Najeh, and hopefully, we can get a long-term deal done for him in the future."

Rosenhaus' desire is to get a new deal in place for Davenport before the start of the season. He argues that it would behoove the Packers to accommodate those wishes before Davenport becomes a potential hot commodity as an unrestricted free agent next year.

Davenport has merely been a top understudy to Ahman Green during three injury-marred seasons, with only one pro start.

"If he gets into free agency, all bets are off," Rosenhaus said. "He's definitely a player that's capable of being a quality starting running back in this league. I'm hopeful of working something out with the team before we get into the season. We'll see what happens."

Packers general manager Ted Thompson didn't cringe at having to enter into contract negotiations with Rosenhaus regarding another player on the roster.

"Drew represents a lot of players in this league, and we signed two of them," said Thompson, citing the free-agent acquisitions of veteran safeties Arturo Freeman and Earl Little this spring.

Rosenhaus has upset a number of team officials and players, including outspoken quarterback Brett Favre, by advising Walker to stay away from on-field activities in Green Bay until his contract demands are met.

Walker, coming off a breakout season that culminated with his first trip to the Pro Bowl, has two years left on the deal he signed as a first-round draft pick in 2002. Walker skipped the mandatory portion of the post-draft minicamp last month.

The receiver made an appearance in Milwaukee last weekend at his inaugural celebrity softball game and made it known he wants to be paid as one of the top receivers in the NFL. At the same time, Walker said he prefers to remain a Packer and expressed optimism the two sides will reach agreement on a new contract before training camp starts in late July.

It's not clear whether Walker will skip the start of training camp if a reworked pact isn't consummated by then. McKenzie staged a contract-related holdout through the entire preseason and the first game of the season last year. Three weeks after he finally rejoined the team, the Packers traded him to New Orleans.

While Rosenhaus was forthright in discussing the alignment with Davenport, he maintained his stance of not commenting on Walker's situation.

Walker is among a handful of players represented by Rosenhaus who have shown their dissatisfaction about existing contracts by boycotting team activities this off-season. Others include receivers Terrell Owens of Philadelphia and Anquan Boldin of Arizona and safety Sean Taylor of Washington.

There's no indication if Walker will show up for the Packers' second minicamp, which starts June 1 but is voluntary for players.

Head coach Mike Sherman, though, said Wednesday that Walker placed a call to his office the previous day and left a message.

"He wanted to see how I was doing. Catching up on me," Sherman said.

When asked if he interprets the call as a sign that Walker is prepared to return to the team, Sherman responded, "It's not a big deal."

As for whether he's optimistic that Walker will report on time for training camp and show that he is committed to playing for the Packers, Sherman added, "I can't tell you. When they're here (practicing), they're here. When they're not, they're not. That's all I know."

Meanwhile, Sherman didn't disclose whether he will have Favre participate in the upcoming minicamp. Sherman excused the 15th-year veteran from the last minicamp to allow him to tend to personal matters at his home in Mississippi.

The presumption is Favre will take part in some of the workouts at the seven-day minicamp because his annual charity softball game is June 5 at Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute. "I have to call him and talk to him," Sherman said. "Yeah, pretty much (I have made a decision). But, I'll wait until we get to that point to talk about it in public."

Chiefs running back’s body language says it all
Holmes a nice fit at workouts


Priest Holmes refers to “The Body” as if it’s a separate entity. The body is holding up well. The body is down 7 pounds. When it is time for Priest to call it quits, the body will tell him.

For a moment Thursday, it sounded as if Holmes was trying to hint at something. Is the end near? It’s year nine in the NFL for Holmes, the Chiefs’ veteran halfback. The knee that kept him out of the second half of 2004 is covered in a large wrap that extends to his lower calf.

A few feet away from him, Larry Johnson, the young buck, continues to show that he’s healthy and ready to be a starting NFL halfback.

“He’s definitely going to be the new face for the Kansas City Chiefs,” Holmes said. “And I’m excited to be here and to be able to leave that legacy behind and give him the torch.”

This handoff will have to wait. Holmes, 31, arrived in Kansas City this week for offseason workouts, and coach Dick Vermeil said Holmes is probably the strongest he’s been his entire life. In a weight room in Texas, Holmes bulked up to 222 pounds.

Holmes, a 5-foot-9 Pro Bowler, said he’s dropped 7 of that in the last three weeks by laying off the honey buns.

About 20 minutes into his second workout Thursday, Holmes showed the burst that carried him to 892 yards in half of a season. He broke a long run during an 11-on-11 drill, prompting a sideline observer to shout, “How about that running back?”

Vermeil’s program is built on trust, so when Holmes said he was going to spend the winter months training in Texas, offensive coordinator Al Saunders didn’t flinch. In some ways, Holmes’ work habits remind Saunders of Hall of Fame receiver Charlie Joiner, who’s now the Chiefs’ receivers coach.

Joiner used to train in Houston, away from his Charger teammates. He’d come to camp in better shape than anybody.

“Thank you for being here,” Saunders said to Holmes when he arrived Wednesday.

Saunders now has two running backs capable of producing 1,000-yard seasons. Before the knee injury, Holmes had run for at least 1,400 yards in his first three years with the Chiefs. Johnson, filling in for Holmes, piled up 151 yards on 30 carries in a late-season game against Denver.

In a perfect world, Holmes envisions a one-two punch like he had at Texas in 1996 with Ricky Williams. Johnson, who’s more of a pounding back, said he has no problem sharing snaps with Holmes. Or watching the veteran give a few more lessons.

“He’s here to help this team succeed,” Johnson said, “and I’m here to help extend his career even longer if he wants to stick around more. I’m just here to be his backup and do everything I need to put myself in position if he decides to either give it up or go down.

“It’s real cool between us. We don’t even talk about football that much. That stuff kind of gets tiring.”

Holmes said he won’t be the type of player who hangs around when his skills fade. He doesn’t want to be the guy who holds on and struggles to get 200 yards in a season.

His body will tell him when it’s over.

Thing is, the body’s been telling him a lot of things lately. There was the torn hip muscle at the end of 2002, then the long road of rehab. Holmes didn’t even start running until the third week of July in 2003. He still managed 1,420 yards in 320 carries.

When asked Thursday what Priest can do for him in 2005, Vermeil jokingly rattled off 2,100 yards and 29 touchdowns. Holmes doesn’t think it’s so funny. He has a deal with Chiefs trainer Keith Abrams.

They want 30 touchdowns this year.

“I read my body very well,” Holmes said. “There’s one thing to be able to play three quarters on skill and then leave the last quarter to will. It’s different when you’re playing from the very beginning of the game on will because all your skill is diminishing. That’s not the case with me. My skill level is still very high.

“I’m out here, I’m running, and I’m excited about how the body has healed up.”

05-20-2005, 08:28 PM
Looks like the Browns aren't the only ones trying to get into Winslow's pocket:

05-20-2005, 10:40 PM
I wonder if he can afford that big of a fine? The charge carries a maximum fine of $150 with no jail time

05-20-2005, 10:45 PM
I wonder if he can afford that big of a fine?

We should take up a collection.

05-21-2005, 05:47 AM
I'm pulling for the judge to give him community service at a homeless shelter...teach him some humility.

05-21-2005, 07:13 AM
Jokes aside - don't you feel kind of sorry for the Browns fans? They lose their team to Baltimore. They get stuck with an expansion team. Meanwhile their old team wins a SB for Baltimore. They hire the guy that coached the national champs but he makes one mistake after another in the NFL. They've had some terrible luck with the first round picks in recent years and now they get the best TE coming out of college and he turns out to be an egg head. Besides that they have all that humid heat in the summer and frigid winters! :(

05-21-2005, 07:53 PM
County officials perceive a heightened need for tax L.A. CHEFS ?


For the first time in stadium improvement talks, one of Kansas City's major teams has raised the possibility of leaving town if the Truman Sports Complex is not renovated.

The Chiefs' new chairman, Clark Hunt, recently told a group of state legislators and local leaders that one or both teams would probably leave Kansas City if Jackson County defaulted on its leases with the teams and the sports complex didn't get a major face-lift soon.

Although the Royals have distanced themselves from that scenario, it is giving Jackson County and local sports officials a new sense of urgency as they try to solve what some are calling a budding stadium crisis.

“That's the first time I've heard an owner state that thought,” said Bill Lucas, a Crown Center executive who leads the Greater Kansas City Sports Commission. “He was definitely raising a red flag.”

Mike Smith, who leads the county's sports complex authority, added: “It's got me real nervous. I would not take it as a threat, but as a message. He's just stating the facts, and the city needs to hear that.”

Now, in the wake of the Missouri legislature's decision not to fund more money for stadium improvements, county and sports officials are starting to meet with the teams to plan a Jackson County tax election sometime this year. The size, scope and even the timetable of any election remains unclear at this point.

“We're leaving all our options open,” said Jackson County Legislator Scott Burnett.

That means the election could be in August or November, although most officials lean toward the latter. It could be for a quarter-cent sales tax or three-eighths cent. And it could last four years, raising an estimated $80 million for minimum maintenance, or go a lot longer and raise hundreds of millions of dollars for renovations such as widened concourses, additional stores and new restaurants.

The ultimate decisions will depend on officials' reading of the political winds and of the teams' desires.

The teams and local sports leaders have already swung and missed three times this decade when attempting to obtain more money for the stadiums — twice with the Missouri legislature and once with a multicounty bistate tax. One additional complication is that both teams' wish lists are more expensive than the improvements included in the bistate package.

Time, however, is slowly running out on the legal tie that binds both the Royals and the Chiefs to Kansas City.

Jackson County has obligations under the teams' leases to maintain the stadiums. But the county has put off so many maintenance projects, citing lack of funds, that it is in danger of defaulting on those leases by the end of next year, even though the leases are supposed to last through 2014.

A default would allow the teams to move.

Earlier this month the Chiefs' Hunt and Royals owner David Glass joined local leaders in making a pitch for the languishing state bill in Jefferson City. At a meeting in the speaker of the House's office, state Rep. Bryan Pratt of Blue Springs told the owners that based on feedback from his constituents, there was no budding stadium crisis because neither team seemed in danger of leaving Kansas City.

That prompted Hunt to reply, according to Hunt and others at the meeting: “If there's no renovation of the sports complex, one or both of these franchises will be gone.”

This week Royals President Dan Glass reiterated — as he had earlier this year — that the Royals did not intend to relocate even if Jackson County ended up breaking the lease. “We're not going anywhere,” Glass said.

Hunt, meanwhile, did not back down from his statement. As owner Lamar Hunt's son, he is taking on a larger role as the face of the franchise.

In an interview this week, he said he meant one or both teams would not be playing in Missouri in 10 years, once the leases were up. The Chiefs are seeking not just Jackson County's required patchwork repairs but also an expansion of Arrowhead that would bump out the exterior walls and possibly add a hall of fame, among other things.

That represents the reality of the big-league sports business today, in which almost every franchise has gotten or wants an updated stadium.

Another sign of discouragement came Friday when the Chiefs pulled a Kansas City Super Bowl proposal that would have come to a vote at next week's NFL meetings in Washington.

The proposal would have granted the Chiefs a Super Bowl sometime between 2012 and 2022 provided that they had a high-quality, roofed stadium and that Kansas City met all the other normal requirements of a host city, including a minimum number of hotel rooms.

The Chiefs may resubmit the proposal later this year or next, but likely will not do so until Arrowhead renovation plans have more definition.

Local officials have taken Hunt's message seriously.

“We need to believe it,” said Kansas City Councilwoman Becky Nace, who heard Hunt's assertion. “He said it and he meant it. We need to attend to our teams. We can't take them for granted.”

Jackson County Legislature Chairman Dan Tarwater added: “What it tells us is the teams have other options. I truly believe they don't want to move, but with all the options out there, they could go to any city in many states across the country.”

Pratt noted that a further concern with the Chiefs is Lamar Hunt's age and recent health problems.

“Clark's taken over, and there's some concern that Clark isn't as committed to Kansas City as Lamar,” Pratt said. “But it's always been my sense in discussions with Clark that he is committed to Kansas City.”

The county and the teams had hoped for more state aid this legislative session. They made a simple pitch: Let stadium users pick up more of the tab for stadium costs. In this case, those users are mainly millionaire ballplayers. Local officials wanted the existing tax on out-of-state athletes and entertainers changed, directing more of that revenue toward stadiums instead of the state's general programs.

In the end, state lawmakers did not pass the bill. Although the teams sweetened the stadium bill by making it contingent on them working out new lease extensions, the move was perceived as too little, too late.

The state was cutting services for low-income residents, so some lawmakers could not justify shifting more money to wealthy sports owners. And many legislators considered the bill a bailout for Jackson County's troubles.

Now it's up to Jackson County to not only avoid default but also possibly bear the burden of upgrading a regional asset.

“This shows you it really is a critical issue that we're looking at and it would be very unwise if we don't put all our time and attention toward trying to work out a solution,” said Jackson County Legislator Dennis Waits.

Tackle draws Texans' interest


Saints going Southwest?


The Saints have the right to leave New Orleans after this season if they repay $81 million to the state of Louisiana. Frustrated by an impasse in his negotiations with state officials, Saints owner Tom Benson let it be known he might move the club to San Antonio, where he has a home, or to Albuquerque, N.M.
Louisiana officials didn't grab the bait even after Benson's attorney, Stanley Rosenberg, claimed his boss has a $1.2 billion offer to sell the club, $400 million more than the record price Dan Snyder paid for the Washington Redskins and their stadium in 1999.
"It doesn't surprise us at all that they will be rattling the saber a little bit to bring more tension to the situation," said Doug Thornton, regional vice president of SMG, the company that operates the Superdome. "This is what NFL teams do."
Rev. Douglas Haywood apparently took Benson's threat more seriously. In his recent invocation to open the legislative session in Baton Rouge, the lifelong Saints fan "asked God to save us from the bondage of Tom Benson. ... I love the Saints, [but] I'm kinda upset with them now because they're talking about moving to San Antonio. Tom Benson owes it to the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana to reach an agreement. The fans have been faithful for all these years going back to when they were wearing bags on their heads."

05-21-2005, 08:08 PM
Jokes aside - don't you feel kind of sorry for the Browns fans? They lose their team to Baltimore. They get stuck with an expansion team. Meanwhile their old team wins a SB for Baltimore. They hire the guy that coached the national champs but he makes one mistake after another in the NFL. They've had some terrible luck with the first round picks in recent years and now they get the best TE coming out of college and he turns out to be an egg head. Besides that they have all that humid heat in the summer and frigid winters! :(

No, I feel sorry for Braylon Edwards!

05-21-2005, 08:23 PM
$100 says the Brownies have a top 10 pick next year!

05-22-2005, 07:40 AM
Rams RB all for role reversal


The St. Louis Rams are high on running back Steven Jackson.

Coach Mike Martz announced in mid-February the Rams would head into the 2005 season with Jackson, 21, as their No. 1 back, leaving future Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk, 32, to take on a supporting role. Jackson rushed for 673 yards last season, third among NFL rookies and second on the team behind Faulk's 774, and averaged 5.0 yards per carry -- more than a yard better than Faulk.

"It's different after being designated the No. 1 guy," Jackson said. "Plus, as a sophomore, I actually know what's going on right now. I can watch coach yelling at the other guys and not me."

Jackson, whose locker at Rams Park is just feet from Faulk's, said he expects no friction with Faulk.

"Marshall and I actually sat down last year, when I was starting to carry the ball more at the end of the season, and talked about it," Jackson said. "It's something that we both were anticipating; we just didn't know when it was going to happen."

Fred Taylor hurting

Jaguars running back Fred Taylor had surgery on his left medial collateral ligament in January, and he will be held out of all workouts until at least June. Taylor insists he'll be ready for training camp in late July, but the Jags have at least considered the possibility that Taylor might miss the season.

When asked how good the offense would be without Taylor, new offensive coordinator Carl Smith said: "If you take Fred out, it's a big hit. He's a terrific player, and one of the joys of this process since I got here was watching him play on tape. ... Anytime you lose a terrific player, it's going to hurt you. But we won't use that as an excuse if he's not available."

After injuring his knee late in a Dec. 19 game against Green Bay, Taylor missed the final two games of the year against Houston and Oakland. In the first game against the Texans on Oct. 31, Taylor played just three snaps because of a hip pointer. In those three games, Jacksonville scored 19 total points.

LaBrandon Toefield, Greg Jones and Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala back up Taylor, and the Jags drafted Virginia running back Alvin Pearman in the fourth round.

"If Fred can't go, then I'm the guy," Toefield said.

Sean Taylor AWOL

Redskins safety Sean Taylor's off-season absence from the team isn't because of unhappiness with his contract, Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said.

"I really don't think [it's] contractual," Gibbs said after the Redskins' first of 14 days of voluntary organized team activities that followed off-season workouts, which began March 21. "I think Sean understands he's got a contract, and we expect him to honor it."

Having yet to hear from Taylor this off-season, Gibbs recently sent contract negotiator Eric Schaffer to meet with Taylor's agent, Drew Rosenhaus.

"It's kind of hard because there's no interaction," Gibbs said. "I was hoping at some point we would hit a breakthrough. ... It will probably take me having a chance to sit down and talk with Sean to really figure out why he's not here."

Gibbs said he "would be in shock" if Taylor misses anything mandatory, including the June 17-19 minicamp. Running back Clinton Portis agreed, saying he knows his former University of Miami teammate will be on time for training camp, which begins July 31.

Taylor, the fifth pick in the 2004 draft, endured a tumultuous rookie year during which he changed agents twice; was fined for leaving a mandatory NFL symposium, for late hits and for improper socks; and was suspended for a game by the Redskins after being arrested for driving under the influence. Those charges were later dropped.

"Sean knows his responsibilities," Portis said. "He had a long season, going through the alcohol thing and all that. When you're under the spotlight forever [and] you finally get away from it, you want to stay out of it for a little while."

No Rice

Receiver Jerry Rice, who wants to play a 20th season before retiring, spoke with Broncos coach Mike Shanahan about the possibility of playing in Denver this season. But Rice wanted to finish his career with the team he started with. New San Francisco coach Mike Nolan said Rice could return to be a 49er, but only for a day, and then retire.

"Our focus is going to be on our young players and developing those guys, and we don't want to take anything away from those guys we've got on the roster," Nolan told the San Francisco Chronicle. "He's been the greatest wide receiver ever. I'd feel pretty good about that if I was him."

Other NFL Writers Contributed to This Report.

Rip of McNabb may force Eagles to trade WR
Some players are just not to bright !!

The Eagles went into their T.O. experience fully aware they were investing in the total package: A disruptive me-first player capable of taking over games on Sundays and dividing the locker room Monday through Saturday.

Terrell Owens was on his best behavior his first year in Philly, but the real T.O. has returned. It's all about him. He wants a new contract one year into a seven-year deal. He has been taking shots at Donovan McNabb, the franchise quarterback and face of the team.

He was a no-show for mini-camp and could be a no-show for training camp.

Now the Eagles must at least consider a drastic remedy to their T.O. problem: Trading him. He's in the process of tearing the Eagles apart, which is the best thing to happen to the Giants this offseason. Owens was a hero in Philly last season, especially after coming back to play in the Super Bowl so soon after his severe ankle injury, but he's going to turn off the tough Eagles fans with his selfishness.

He was brought in to get the Eagles to the Super Bowl after their three straight NFC title game losses. He energized them, had an All-Pro season, but when the Eagles beat the Falcons in the NFC title game to finally get to the Super Bowl, the injured Owens was nothing more than a cheerleader. He helped them earn the No. 1 seed in the NFC, but they had done that the previous two seasons without him. So, in effect, what was the net gain trading for Owens? The Eagles were more entertaining.

"They knew exactly what he was," one GM said. "Did they think, 'If we feed him more with the ball and he's on a winning team, we can camouflage the spots?' Obviously, that didn't happen. He played great for them and was one of the catalysts in getting them to the next level. You can't minimize that. It's America, he can ask for a new contract, but the bottom line is, if your word is your word and you're a man, you stand by it."

The Eagles are known to show little loyalty to their long-time players, once their contracts are up and they reach 30. Owens is 31 and has been there only one year. There is not much of an emotional attachment. Andy Reid sold out last year trading for Owens in a desperate attempt to get to the Super Bowl. But he can't allow Owens to walk over his quarterback and the organization. The Eagles are McNabb's team. Owens is due a $5 million roster bonus next March, which realistically may be the time the Eagles say goodbye to him.

Contract problems are a way of life. Dumping on the quarterback is not. And Owens took a dig at McNabb after stories came out that McNabb was tired late in the Super Bowl. There was a report last week in Philly claiming Owens doesn't like McNabb and thinks of him as a company man.

"Taking a shot at the quarterback to me was classless," the GM said.

But it's what Owens does. He made it an art form going after Jeff Garcia in San Francisco. Owens lobbied to get to Philly and claimed he wanted to play with McNabb. They roomed together in training camp. Catching 77 passes with 14 TDs in 14 games and then nine in a dramatic Super Bowl return was not enough for Owens to be supportive of his quarterback.

"Owens is just not a class act," the GM said. "He's a flash guy, not a class guy. He's a me guy. All me guys, every day, it's, 'What about me?' Their whole thought process is self-serving. Football is a team sport."

Owens was on the verge of winning an arbitration case last March that would have made him a free agent when he agreed to the trade to the Eagles. He signed a seven-year, $49 million deal, which paid him $9.16 million in bonuses and salary last year and will pay him $3.25 million this year.

One year into the deal, he wants more, but the Eagles will not touch his contract. It's anybody's guess if he intends to show up for training camp. Once the season starts, he'll be there. He's not about to lose $191,176 per week.

Maybe the Giants can subsidize him to stay away.

Or maybe McNabb just won't throw him the ball.

"Those two guys will resolve that behind closed doors," another GM said.

Perhaps the Eagles should trade him to Detroit so he can be reunited with Garcia.

NFL drug policy merely obstacle for Romanowski

Good to see the cheater had some morals :rolleyes:

05-22-2005, 09:45 AM
Perhaps the Eagles should trade him to Detroit so he can be reunited with Garcia. LMAO - they do need to spend some more money on WR's in Detroit!

People say we can't afford to keep Brees and Rovers on the team but look at the Lions, three WR's taken in the first round and a first round QB plus a free agent QB.

05-22-2005, 09:53 AM
I gained a lot of respect for TO with his SB performance, but this offseason, he lost that, and sunk even lower.

No matter how good a player is, a team can not afford to keep a guy that is that much of a "me" person. It will kill their locker room.

05-22-2005, 09:57 AM
I gained a lot of respect for TO with his SB performance, but this offseason, he lost that, and sunk even lower.

No matter how good a player is, a team can not afford to keep a guy that is that much of a "me" person. It will kill their locker room.
Same goes for me. He's great on game day but he's a bad influence the rest of the time.

05-22-2005, 12:46 PM
I gained a lot of respect for TO with his SB performance, but this offseason, he lost that, and sunk even lower.

No matter how good a player is, a team can not afford to keep a guy that is that much of a "me" person. It will kill their locker room.

My view too. Unfortunately we can all look forward to the "we need to get TO" threads when the Eagles go to dump him.

Go Bolts!
:Bolt: :Bolt: :Bolt:

05-23-2005, 06:23 PM
LMAO - they do need to spend some more money on WR's in Detroit!

People say we can't afford to keep Brees and Rovers on the team but look at the Lions, three WR's taken in the first round and a first round QB plus a free agent QB.

That would be hillarious!!!!!!!

05-23-2005, 06:58 PM

(May 23, 2005) -- A year ago, Chargers QB Drew Brees watched his team bring rookie Philip Rivers aboard as San Diego's quarterback of the future. He spent the offseason preparing hard for 2005, then went out and easily had the best year of his career. He set personal highs in completions, completion percentage, touchdowns, QB rating and a career low in interceptions. And he also led San Diego to their first playoff appearance since 1995.

Brees was catching some rays and tossing some pigskin at the EA Sports QB Challenge in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., when we got the chance to corral the upstart passer on life in San Diego, strategies for shutting down Antonio Gates and everything you need to know about Australia.

How do you like being involved in an event like the QB Challenge?

Brees: Oh, shoot. This is fun. I got to meet some guys I've never met before, hang out and have a good time. You walk away from this feeling good not because you competed in the event, but the fact that you got to meet guys who you watched on film. All of us quarterbacks have watched film on one another when you're getting ready to play. You'll sit there and say, 'Nice throw' or 'nice decision' or 'I could have done that better.' We all grade each other, so that makes it kind of funny to meet the guys in person.

Do you think the quarterbacks who do events like these with a teammate are at an advantage? Fellow Charger Keenan McCardell is here.

Brees: Yeah. I just know he's a sure-handed guy, so if I throw it anywhere near him he's going to catch it. I need to rig this event so that Keenan is up every time I throw.

You should have tried to get Antonio Gates out here as well to really clinch the event for you.

Brees: Oh yeah. That would have been a heck of a deal. But I don't think they brought any tight ends out here. But hey, he runs routes like a receiver.

When did you realize Gates was going to be so good?

Brees: Well, he was talented as heck right when he got to San Diego. But going from playing basketball to playing tight end in the NFL is a big, big change. It's funny now because I told Antonio about midway through the season that he made this process so much harder now for basketball guys coming out of college who think they can make it in the NFL if they can't make it in the NBA. That's not the case at all -- I don't think they realize how much work is involved and how it's not all about running down the field and catching passes. You've got to be able to block, be able to play through injuries and be tough. Antonio is all of those things.

I think going into the 2003 season, which was his rookie season, he started off on the practice squad and due to some injuries at tight end he sort of moved up and became kind of a decoy. Then he started to realize things out a little bit and now he's a star.

Do you think teams are going to do more to defend against him in 2005?

Brees: Teams said that midseason last year and he still kept catching the ball. The fact is, we have LaDainian Tomlinson in the backfield, we have Keenan and Eric Parker out at wide receiver, we have Gates at tight end. You can't cover them all. So it becomes my job to give the guy the ball that provides the best matchup for us. Gates is going to get his opportunities as are the other guys. It becomes a guessing game for our opponents.

What are you up to this offseason?

Brees: I take a trip with my wife every offseason. That's the thing about football -- you can get burned out, especially after a long season. You just want to kind of get away and taste a little bit of the free life. Then when I get back, I plan out my offseason and watch a lot of tape. Set my goals for the offseason.

Where did you go this year?

Australia. It was a fun trip. My fondest memory was scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef. That was pretty cool. We did all kinds of stuff in Sydney -- climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge, saw the Opera House and other cool stuff.

What are some of the differences between Australia and America?

Brees: I'll tell you one -- something you learn about Australia and their kangaroos is that we think they're these exotic animals. But they're like deer over there. Their roadkill are kangaroos. Seriously. We saw a dead kangaroo in the road and we were shocked, but the natives aren't shocked. It happens all the time.

Bears release veteran DB McQuarters


LAKE FOREST, Ill. (May 23, 2005) -- The Chicago Bears released defensive back R.W. McQuarters.

McQuarters, who signed a $21 million contract extension with the Bears in January 2002 that ran through 2006, was acquired by the Bears in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers in 2000.

In five seasons in Chicago, McQuarters had 295 tackles and nine interceptions. Last season, he showed his versatility when he switched from cornerback to safety and returned punts.

"After exploring trade opportunities with R.W., we felt it was in everybody's best interest to release him at this time," general manager Jerry Angelo said in a statement. "We respect and appreciate his accomplishments as a Bear and wish him well."

Carson Opts to Quit While It's Behind in NFL Race


Tillman's family rips accounts by Army


05-23-2005, 07:33 PM
No room for him on the Bolts and he'll get far more money.

Jammer is not moving to safety. Jue, Hart and Wilson will battle it out for the free safety slot. IMO No reason to bring him in - there's a reason why he was released by the Bears - he's an overpaid backup in the NFL.

05-23-2005, 08:45 PM
i think we should atleast try to bring him in, he would help us out with Randy Moss since he saw him play quite a bit, i dont remember what bears CB but it may have been McQuarters, but they always seemed to shut down Randy.

05-23-2005, 08:57 PM
Is It just me or does anyone else think that it might be a wise descision to pick up a free agent like McQuarters?

...and I may not have seen many Chargers games last season but ...

If San Diego Does Pick Up McQuarters then Quinten Jammer can move to the position he played in colledge - Free Saftey.
#1. I don't think McQuarters is a better CB than Jammer, Florence or Davis. Period.

#2. All y'all need to get off the matra of Jammer to safety. He played safety EARLY in his college career, not his whole career as posters and some moronic trash websites like to state. Jammer is a CB, until maybe LATE in his NFL career.

05-24-2005, 09:43 AM
qbertone- Welcome and thanks for your interest. McQuarters wouldn't be an upgrade over any of four CBs already on the team. One of our biggest problems in the secondary was youth and inexperience. We have a lot of talent there and other teams helped with thier education. This year, we're bringing the same crew back a year older and smarter, and have added Bawoh Jue, a quality young FS. It is also believed that we have upgraded our pass rush. If that is so, the secondary is going to have dramatic improvement in their success.

05-24-2005, 11:57 AM
$100 says the Brownies have a top 10 pick next year!

Just received this email..."I'll bet $100 the Brown's have a top five pick! Sincerely yours, Romeo Crennel." Can't verify it's veracity, but this guy just could be on to something.

05-24-2005, 12:07 PM
My view too. Unfortunately we can all look forward to the "we need to get TO" threads when the Eagles go to dump him.

Go Bolts!
:Bolt: :Bolt: :Bolt:

The Egles should trade TO to the Dolphins for Boston and eliminate an expensive headache for a cheap one.

05-24-2005, 12:56 PM
I agree w/sonorajim. With our improved pass rush, the DBs should be able to step up and handle the secondary. I'm excited to see how this one OLB can change up and solidify our D-Fence. Now all we got to do throw him a contract. Cheers! :Beer:

05-24-2005, 06:21 PM

WASHINGTON (May 24, 2005) -- Before NFL owners can hammer out an extension of the collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association, they first must reach an agreement among themselves.

A revenue-sharing agreement.

League owners are gathered here to discuss that issue, along with other topics. It is unlikely they will have a resolution by the time their annual May meeting comes to an end May 25, but they understand the urgency of moving toward a consensus at some point in the near future.

The challenge is to find a way to create greater balance between teams at the high end of the revenue spectrum (Washington, Philadelphia, New England, Dallas and Houston) and those on the lower end, such as the Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts. Bills owner Ralph Wilson has been especially outspoken in voicing concerns about his club's ability to survive in one of the NFL's smallest markets if the growing revenue disparity were to continue.

One idea being considered at the meeting is for teams to include all local revenue -- rather than only ticket income -- into a general pool that is shared by all 32 teams. Presently, teams share national revenue, which comprises about 60 percent of all league dollars. Ticket income accounts for 20 percent, while the remaining unshared local income (i.e. sponsorship deals and suite fees) makes up for the balance of the overall income.

Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt said he believes a new revenue-sharing plan needs to be worked out in a "pretty substantive form" before the owners could move forward with negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement, which is due to expire after the 2007 season.

"I think that's very important, not only for Buffalo, but for all the teams in the league," Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt said. "We can't have a solution that's good for 16 teams or nine teams or 22 teams. We need one where at least there's a majority and it will pass the vote."

Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen agrees the league needs a "better" revenue-sharing system.

"How we do it, I don't know," Bowlen said. "It's going to be very difficult because there are lots of different ideas and lots of different agendas. It's not something that's going to come very easy."

Some owners in the higher-revenue category argue that too much sharing of local revenue would take away an incentive from lower-revenue teams to work to create more local revenue.

The solution figures to be in owners agreeing on what percentage of previously unshared local revenue to share.

"I think sharing a portion is the answer," Hunt said. "I don't think you can reinvent the entire wheel. You need to keep the wheel functioning forward."

In other meeting developments:

Owners passed a rule banning the horse-collar tackle. The ban was partially in response to Philadelphia Eagles receiver Terrell Owens suffering a broken leg and torn ligaments in his right ankle when Dallas Cowboys safety Roy Williams yanked him down by the back of his collar late in the 2004 season. Five teams opposed the ban: Dallas, San Francisco, New England, Detroit and New Orleans.
Owners are expected to vote on May 25 on a site for the 2009 Super Bowl. The candidates are Atlanta, Houston, Miami and Tampa.
The league has asked Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer to explain the relationship Manchester United, the soccer team Glazer recently acquired, has with a Las Vegas casino because of concerns it could be in violation of the NFL's anti-gambling policies. Otherwise, the takeover does not raise any issues with the league's rules regarding cross-ownership, according to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello.
A vote on the transfer of the Minnesota Vikings ownership, from Red McCombs to New Jersey-based real-estate magnate and developer Zygmunt Wilf, could take place May 25.

Union Chief Warns NFL Owners


The head of the NFL Players Association offered a stern warning yesterday to team owners convening today in Washington for a two-day league meeting.

"To sit around and think that labor peace is going to just fall off a tree, they're reading the wrong tea leaves," said Gene Upshaw, the union's executive director. "It's time for them to wake up to the fact that we have a problem, and we need to get it fixed."

The league and the union have had discussions over the last year on extending the collective bargaining agreement past its expiration following the 2007 season. But Upshaw said that in recent meetings with owners and Commissioner Paul Tagliabue: "It's beginning to sound like that movie 'Groundhog Day.' They give us the same thing over and over and over.

"Their last proposal to us was totally unacceptable. You see what happened to hockey [a lockout that forced cancellation of the 2004-05 season]. Now basketball is moving in the same direction. I don't see us as being too far off the pace from those two. For some reason, the owners have not moved the ball at all."

At their winter meetings in Hawaii in March, the owners continued to discuss a CBA extension tied to changes in the current revenue-sharing agreement among the 32 teams. The major issue has been the reluctance of higher-revenue teams such as the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys to share more of their locally generated revenues with teams in smaller markets.

Upshaw said that, in the latest talks with the league, the union has been offered 57 percent of the league's designated gross revenues "when they admit to us under the old agreement we've been getting 59 to 60 percent. So why would we accept something less than what we're already getting? We're not going to do that."

Under the current labor agreement, a salary cap will be in effect for the last time for the 2006 season, and if there is no extension, the 2007 season would be uncapped, meaning teams could spend as much as they want to sign free agent players. Upshaw said if it came to an uncapped year, he would decertify the union, a move that essentially would mean all players would become free agents.

"Once you get to an uncapped year, you can't go back," Upshaw said. "I think that's something they don't want to see happen. I think we need to do this before it gets too late. I'd much rather talk to the players this fall about what we can agree on rather than telling them you better prepare for a train wreck, because that's what it will be."

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello declined to respond to Upshaw's comments but noted that CBA negotiations are a key part of the agenda for this week's meetings.

Over the next two days, owners also are expected to approve the sale of the Minnesota Vikings to Zygmunt Wilf, a New Jersey developer and real-estate magnate who has agreed to purchase the team for $625 million from Red McCombs. Wilf became the principal buyer when Arizona businessman Reggie Fowler was unable to meet the league's criteria for full ownership. Fowler, who had hoped to become the NFL's first black owner, will instead be a limited partner in Wilf's ownership group.

Owners also will pick a site for the 2009 Super Bowl; Atlanta, Houston, Miami and Tampa are the candidates.

CBA on agenda at NFL meetings


05-25-2005, 05:35 PM

WASHINGTON (May 25, 2005) -- The G.O.A.T. -- the Greatest Player of All Time -- will continue grazing on National Football League pastures.

Wide receiver Jerry Rice reached agreement with the Denver Broncos on a one-year deal that will allow the NFL's all-time receiving leader to finish his career in Denver. Rice's agent, Jim Steiner, informed Broncos coach Mike Shanahan of the decision.

Rice promptly went out to celebrate his decision with a round of golf.
He said on the NFL Network he shot a 78. 6 over par. Not bad for an amateur golfer.

In Denver, Rice was not promised a roster spot, only the chance to come in and compete with the Broncos' established wide receivers -- Rod Smith, Ashley Lelie and Darius Watts. But the Broncos have searched for a successful No. 3 and No. 4 receiver for years, and never have had one quite like Rice.

Jerry Rice will go from Seattle blue and green to Denver blue and orange.
It was not as if Denver was the only team interested in Rice, either. Earlier this offseason, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- with Rice's old head coach, Jon Gruden -- offered the wide receiver a one-year contract. But due to the logistics of the situation, with Tampa Bay being too far from Rice's San Francisco home, he opted to reject the offer.

Last week, Shanahan opened dialogue with Rice, with the two engaging in two separate conversations that culminated in a deal. Rice and Shanahan now will be reunited after spending three seasons together in San Francisco from 1992-94.

The Broncos believe Rice will be a superb complement to an underrated receiving corps. Last season, Broncos starters Smith and Lelie combined to average 16.75 yards per catch, the highest per-catch average amongst any starting receiving tandem; next closest was David Givens and David Patten of New England, who averaged 16.74 yards per catch.

Smith and Lelie also combined for 133 catches, the 10th-best total of any starting receiver tandem, and 2,228 receiving yards, the sixth-best total of any starting tandem.

Adam Schefter's commentaries can be seen on Tuesday night's NFL Total Access show on NFL Network. Schefter's around-the-league information reports air Mondays and Fridays.

Don’t expect Wesley to knock on Woods


Tampa Bay awarded Super Bowl XLIII


WASHINGTON (May 25, 2005) -- Tampa was awarded the 2009 Super Bowl in a vote at the NFL owners meetings. It beat out three other finalists for the game: Atlanta, Houston and South Florida.

Super Bowl XLIII will be the fourth Super Bowl in Tampa, and the first one since 2001, when the Baltimore Ravens defeated the New York Giants 34-7 in Super Bowl XXXV. The first Super Bowl in Tampa was held in 1984, when the Los Angeles Raiders beat the Washington Redskins 38-9 in Super Bowl XVIII.

The 2006 game -- Super Bowl XL -- will be held in Detroit, followed by Miami in 2007 and Glendale, Ariz., in 2008.

Boulware `most qualified'
GM Savage definitely interested in former Baltimore linebacker


Colts notebook
Rookie corners learn against best


49ers Notbook


New guard?: Former Charger Kelvin Garmon and former Bear Michael Keathley were in Santa Clara for tryouts Tuesday. Garmon is a 350-pound guard who has started 50 games with the Cowboys, Chargers and Browns. He is rebounding from a knee injury sustained after starting eight games with the Browns in 2004.

Keathley has experience at center, as well as guard. He started four games in San Diego before spending last year with Chicago.

The 49ers are searching for a veteran backup at guard and center, now that starting center Jeremy Newberry's future is clouded with knee trouble and the contract of center/guard Rob Murphy has been terminated.

05-25-2005, 07:23 PM

WASHINGTON (May 25, 2005) -- The G.O.A.T. -- the Greatest Player of All Time -- will continue grazing on National Football League pastures.

Wide receiver Jerry Rice reached agreement with the Denver Broncos on a one-year deal that will allow the NFL's all-time receiving leader to finish his career in Denver. Rice's agent, Jim Steiner, informed Broncos coach Mike Shanahan of the decision.

Rice promptly went out to celebrate his decision with a round of golf.
He said on the NFL Network he shot a 78. 6 over par. Not bad for an amateur golfer.

Probably still thinking football where high score wins!

05-25-2005, 10:04 PM

New guard?: Former Charger Kelvin Garmon and former Bear Michael Keathley were in Santa Clara for tryouts Tuesday. Garmon is a 350-pound guard who has started 50 games with the Cowboys, Chargers and Browns. He is rebounding from a knee injury sustained after starting eight games with the Browns in 2004.

Keathley has experience at center, as well as guard. He started four games in San Diego before spending last year with Chicago.

The 49ers are searching for a veteran backup at guard and center, now that starting center Jeremy Newberry's future is clouded with knee trouble and the contract of center/guard Rob Murphy has been terminated.
SF is really going to suck this year.

It's a wonder that they also haven't given Page and J. Ball tryouts ....

05-26-2005, 10:21 AM
SF is really going to suck this year.

It's a wonder that they also haven't given Page and J. Ball tryouts ....

That poor rookie QB is going to get thumped... :eek:

05-26-2005, 04:32 PM
SF is really going to suck this year.

It's a wonder that they also haven't given Page and J. Ball tryouts ....
I wonder what the story is on Jason Ball? He was a pretty darn good Center as a rookie and now he's out of the league. There has to be more to the story than we know.

05-26-2005, 05:06 PM
Deal for unhappy Bills back could be on hold for awhile


If the Titans are able to strike a deal with the Buffalo Bills for running back Travis Henry, it would make one important person happy: owner Bud Adams.

"We're interested in Henry,'' Adams said yesterday from the NFL Meetings in Washington, D.C. "He wants to get out of Buffalo. We think he has a lot of ability. We think he has four good years left. Because of where he went to college I think he'd be real popular with the fans.

"I think he'd be a real good addition.''

The Titans and Bills first began discussing a trade involving the former University of Tennessee star during last month's NFL Draft, and the two sides continued dialogue on the subject into last week.

The Bills haven't moved away from their demand for a third-round pick in next year's draft in exchange for Henry. So far the Titans haven't been willing to go that high. They offered a fifth-round pick for Henry on draft day.

With Titans General Manager Floyd Reese currently out of town, talks with the Bills will probably be on hold for a bit. Henry has only has one year remaining on his current contract with the Bills, so the Titans would likely have to extend his deal as part of a trade.

Henry has two 1,000-yard seasons in his four years in the league, all with Buffalo. In 2002 he rushed for 1,438 yards, scored 13 touchdowns and was selected to the Pro Bowl. He followed that up in 2003 with 1,356 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Henry's playing time decreased in 2004, however, when the Bills turned the ball over to Willis McGahee, who was Buffalo's first-round pick in 2003. Henry has since said he wants out of Buffalo.

As for the Titans re-signing running back Eddie George, the franchise's all-time leading rusher, Adams didn't sound nearly as optimistic.

"Well, I'm not sure,'' Adams said. "Anything is a possibility.''

George, released by the Titans in July 2004 and played for the Dallas Cowboys last season, is a free agent. •

Time to think football


IS THERE A BETTER time to talk football than right before Memorial Day?

Well, probably. But who cares about the Indy 500 (aside from whether Danica Patrick wins it), and how many times can you say the baseball season has been a disappointment?

So, it's football.

If you are a regular reader of Vegas Vic, you have seen that he has the Patriots (3-1) favored to win their third consecutive Super Bowl and the Eagles (4-1) right behind them.

But Vic also has some other lines out there. Such as:

• USC being even money to win it all again in college football. Penn State is 60-1.

• USC quarterback Matt Leinart is nearly even money to repeat as the Heisman Trophy winner. Leinart's closest competitors are teammate Reggie Bush and Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson (5-1).

• Didn't realize he even took action on this, but Vic even has odds on who the NFL MVP will be. Peyton Manning, at about 4-1, is the favorite followed by Tom Brady (8-1) and Donovan McNabb (10-1). You can get Brian Westbrook at 30-1.

• Which NFL coach will be the first to be fired/step down? Double V has Oakland's Norv Turner at 3-1. Jets coach Herm Edwards is one of four guys at 5-1. Andy Reid is 250-1.

Mike Singletary - Heading West
Former Bears star Mike Singletary is following Mike Nolan to the 49ers as the team's assistant head coach.


Stephen A. Smith | Birds gain points in public feud with T.O.

Drew Rosenhaus and T.O are at it again


McCombs bids goodbye to Vikings employees


Steelers DBs unhappy with horse collar ban


05-26-2005, 06:27 PM
6 other Steelers starters wait their turn to discuss new deals


Thursday, May 26, 2005

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Hines Ward isn't the only Steelers player hoping to get a contract extension. He's just the only one the Steelers are negotiating with at the moment.

Even though seven of the Steelers' likely starters will enter the final year of their contracts, Ward remains the lone player in active negotiations for an extension. The others, apparently, will have to wait either until Ward comes to an agreement or talks reach an impasse with him before the club opens negotiations with anyone else.

"The focus is always going to be on Hines first," said cornerback Deshea Townsend, who enters his eighth year with the team, the past 1 1/2 as a starter. "That's how it goes. I want to sign a new contract and stay here. I have to go out there and prove myself on the field again, I guess."

Besides Townsend and Ward, the others listed as starters on the depth chart who have one year left on their contract are nose tackle Casey Hampton, receiver Antwaan Randle El, defensive end Kimo von Oelhoffen, tight end Jerame Tuman and safety Chris Hope.

While negotiations began between the Steelers' Omar Khan and Ward's agent Eugene Parker the last week of April, it appears not much progress has been made. Parker would not say what kind of deal he is seeking other than something commensurate with Ward's accomplishments and ability.

Ward would receive nearly $1.7 million in salary this season if no new agreement is reached.

The Steelers likely are unwilling to extend the contracts of each of the seven starters before the season begins. Von Oelhoffen is 34. Tuman might not start much longer because they drafted tight end Heath Miller in the first round. They might want to see more of Hope, who has started only one year, and Randle El, who is competing to start with Cedrick Wilson, before entering into a long-term relationship. As for Townsend, they drafted cornerbacks on the second round in each of the past two years.

Hampton, though, was their top draft pick in 2001 and made the Pro Bowl after the 2003 season. He was playing as well until his ACL was torn in the sixth game last season.

"Whatever happens, happens, I can't worry about that," Hampton said. "I have to worry about getting back on the field. I missed 10 games last season. My main goal is to get back and try to help this team win.

"When you worry about [a contract], you start pressing and trying to do things you're not supposed to be doing. You kind of get selfish. I'm going to do what I can do to help the team and not worry about that."

Randle El took a similar stance.

"It doesn't bother me. That's the business side of it. I'm not going to dwell on it. What's in front of me is in front of me."

Browns interested in ex-Patriot Law Chefs,Lions,Dolphins,Jets,Steelers,Colts,Browns, Am I missing anybody ? Who's next


Former Ravens linebacker Peter Boulware isn't the only four-time Pro Bowl defender with Super Bowl bling that the Browns are interested in checking out.

Coach Romeo Crennel said Wednesday after passing camp that he'd like to bring former Patriots cornerback Ty Law in for a visit.

"I haven't spoken with Ty, but Ty knows how I feel about him and I don't think there's any question about how he feels about me," Crennel said. "His injury situation is one that has to be resolved."

Like Boulware, who didn't play last season because of a knee injury, Law is coming off a broken foot that kept him out the final 12 games of 2004, including the Patriots' Super Bowl victory.

Law underwent surgery on the foot and has only recently started running.

"I know he's visited some places, but I haven't heard [how healthy he is]," Crennel said. "I heard he was running straight ahead, but I don't know where he is."

Shortly after Law was released by the Patriots in February, Crennel said at the NFL Combine, "If healthy, Ty Law is still one of the best cornerbacks in the game."

Law, 31, has drawn interest from about six teams and recently visited the Lions and Dolphins. Lions President Matt Millen said two weeks ago he thought Law could contribute, but didn't sign him.

The Chiefs were interested in signing him before the draft, but traded with Miami for cornerback Patrick Surtain instead. The Jets, Steelers and Colts have also expressed interest.

Crennel said he wouldn't be dissuaded by the fact that Law is represented by
Kevin and Carl Poston the agents for Browns tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. The Browns and Postons could be headed for trouble if the Browns decide to recoup some of Winslow's money for breaching his contract by riding a motorcycle. Winslow is expected to miss the 2005 season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament sustained during his motorcycle crash, and the Browns could try to reclaim up to $9.4 million.

Ricky talks to NFL
Ex-tailback asks to be reinstated in drug program
More who cares news


49ers backup receiver Hamilton tears ACL


Low-cal food, high-performance Bears?

All teams should have some kind of food monitoring system in place

William "Refrigerator" Perry used to be excused from eating meals with his Bears teammates in the summer training-camp dining room in Platteville, Wis., during the late 1980s.

The 360-pound Perry had been assigned a personal nutritionist, and Sherry—his wife at the time—was supposed to help monitor what food he ate in their motel room. At least that's what coach Mike Ditka thought. Problem was, Sherry would be spotted routinely importing buckets of chicken, french fries, cheeseburgers and ice cream from the local Dairy Queen into their room as Fridge was overheard asking for more ketchup.

Nowadays, the Bears are trying a more sophisticated form of food monitoring for their players. The health and welfare of players is part of the equation for every NFL team, but the Bears recently seem to have an inordinate number of broken limbs and stretched joints as well as overweight and out-of-shape players.

So here's some food for thought: Bears general manager Jerry Angelo says the organization is providing breakfast and lunch for players at Halas Hall in the off-season with very specific options to build a 500-, 600- or 700-calorie meal. Depending on the player, a special plan is set up for him to follow that allows three options within each category to build a meal each day.

"We're on the right track and hopeful that those days [of poor conditioning] are behind us," Angelo said.

The Bears hired Rusty Jones as the new strength and conditioning coach during the off-season.

"We have always had a real good off-season program, but we wanted to experiment with a few things," Angelo said. "We did some studies and talked to several teams around the league, just to compare notes. We felt like we wanted to make a few changes, even from the cafeteria to the on-the-field work. Are they major? No. But enough to where we've taken a little bit different course."

05-26-2005, 09:13 PM
That poor rookie QB is going to get thumped... :eek:

He is a rookie and will get thumped, but he will NOT be poor!

05-27-2005, 05:58 PM

June 1 is a date NFL veterans with big salaries dread. That's because it's when players can be cut and not have the remainder of their signing bonus accelerate onto this year's cap.
Clubs have become smarter over the years about managing the cap, but there will be a few casualties next week. The likeliest include Washington linebacker Mike Barrow and kick returner Chad Morton, Tampa Bay running back Charlie Garner and offensive tackle Todd Steussie, Kansas City receiver Johnnie Morton (Chad's brother), Oakland quarterback Rich Gannon (who's retiring), St. Louis offensive lineman Kyle Turley, San Francisco offensive lineman Scott Gragg, New Orleans offensive lineman Kendyl Jacox, Seattle cornerback Bobby Taylor and safeties Mike Logan of Pittsburgh and Lance Schulters of Tennessee.

?They can't have me and Pacman [Jones] on the same team,? Schulters said with a smile. ?That's too much attitude.?
Cajun cousins ? Carolina's Jake Delhomme and fellow quarterback Stefan LeFors, the Panthers' fourth-round pick, are near-relatives. LeFors' wife has an aunt who is married to Delhomme's first cousin. Delhomme and Lefors met for the first time on Easter in Delhomme's home in Beaux Bridge, La. Four weeks later, LeFors was chosen to compete with Rod Rutherford to back up Delhomme.
?I'm not as bad as he is,? Baton Rouge native LeFors said jokingly about the quarterbacks' mutual Cajun roots. ?I'm from the city. He's out there by the bayou and all that. He's a good ol' boy.?
LeFors' parents, brother, grandparents and several aunts and uncles are deaf, so he's fluent in sign language.
?I'm pretty much the only hearing child in our family,? LeFors said. ?To me, it was normal. I didn't know any different. We just communicated with our hands instead of our mouths.?
Glenn prefers Tuna ? After 11 NFL seasons, Aaron Glenn isn't just about the money. After being released by Houston following the draft, the three-time Pro Bowl cornerback probably could have started for many teams, including Super Bowl champion New England. But Glenn chose to reunite with Dallas coach Bill Parcells, for whom he earned two Pro Bowl trips in their three years with the New York Jets.
?If you want to win, if you want to compete, it really draws you to him,? Glenn said of Parcells, who has had 10 of his former Jets or Patriots join him in Dallas. ?If you're not willing to compete, if you're just going through the motions ... you're not going to like him too well. Being the type of person I am, it works good for me.?
Glenn and fellow cornerback signee Anthony Henry have to improve a pass defense that was burned for 31 touchdowns last year, second most in Cowboys history.
Gruden goes Hollywood ? Not only do several football writers play ? what else? ? football writers in the remake of ?The Longest Yard,? Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden designed three of the plays used in the movie's climatic game.
?I'm really excited about being a part of it,? Gruden said. ?I can't wait to see the execution of those plays. They bounced some ideas off of me, and they wanted me to bounce some off of them. They gave me plenty of time to try and come up with some creativity that might help them. I'm hoping it did.?
Just for kicks ? Chicago cut kicker Paul Edinger after his dreadful 15-for-24 accuracy last season and signed veteran Doug Brien, let go by the New York Jets after his missed field goal cost them a berth in the AFC Championship game. Brien will compete with rookies Nick Novak (Maryland) and Tyler Jones (Boise State) and ex-Notre Dame kicker Nick Setta, who is playing in NFL Europe.
Tennessee is considering signing Arena League standouts Remy Hamilton and Rob Bironas to provide competition for kicker Ola Kimrin, who had a stint with Washington last year. The Titans cut Joe Nedney, and fellow veteran Gary Anderson is apparently finally done at 46.
?We are wide open to anything, and I think we have to be,? said general manager Floyd Reese.

Poke Notes
Zimmer is hoping for results with unfamiliar defense

cowboys should have some growing pains at the begining of the season

IRVING - Save for Drew Bledsoe, whose status as quarterback of America's Team dictates intense scrutiny, no performance will be examined closer in the 2005 season than that of Cowboys defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.

With the Cowboys switching from the 4-3 front, Zimmer's specialty, to the Bill Parcells-favored 3-4, Zimmer will open minicamp preparing to direct a defense with which he is not yet comfortable and a unit led by many players he does not know.

He is in this position -- one year after parlaying the Cowboys' No. 1 ranking in defense in 2003 into a head-coaching job offer from Nebraska and subsequent $1 million salary from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to stay -- because defensive failures were the prime reason the Cowboys finished 6-10 last season.

Considering a coaching change usually coincides with an alignment change, that Jones and Parcells still have Zimmer as coordinator says a lot about what they think of him and his ability to quickly master a new defense.

But Zimmer isn't naive. He said it's a results-oriented business and he can't help but look at the change in defense as a reflection on him.

"We didn't make the change when we were No. 1 in the league," said Zimmer, heading for his sixth season as the team's defensive coordinator. "You can decipher that how you want. Maybe we would have made it."

At Parcells' direction, the embarrassing results of last season prompted a change in personnel and schemes.

The Cowboys took the first step when they signed free-agent defensive tackle Jason Ferguson ($9 million signing bonus) and cornerback Anthony Henry ($10 bonus) in March. They made the final decision to go to the 3-4 on draft day in April when they selected four defensive players among their first five picks, led by linebacker Demarcus Ware and end Marcus Spears in the first round.

Zimmer braced for the off-season changes after being ordered by Parcells to learn all he could about the 3-4.

"I told the coaches after the season to prepare for every contingency," Parcells said. "I said, 'Don't tell me about what you don't want to do. Be prepared to do whatever I tell you because it's not going to be a suggestion at some point in time for what we do. So, you be prepared for every eventuality.' "

With the aid of some coaching friends and former players, Zimmer collected playbooks and film from other teams and researched the 3-4.

After five months of intense study, consider Zimmer well-versed in the Cowboys' new defense.

But don't call him comfortable. A lifelong 4-3 coach, Zimmer isn't as comfortable with the 3-4 as with the 4-3, nor is he as comfortable as he will be in four months or even next season.

"We have to play something we haven't played before ... we haven't coached before," Zimmer said. "It doesn't mean I didn't like it because we hadn't done it. You are comfortable with what you know. It's like playing golf right-handed as opposed to left-handed. I feel comfortable right-handed, but I might play better left-handed."

The results are what counts.

The Cowboys' defense needs to be better in 2005. If changing defenses is the answer, then Zimmer is all for it.

Zimmer said the Cowboys have a chance to be better against the run because there are not as many gaps in a 3-4 scheme as in a 4-3. The Cowboys also hope to be better at pressuring the quarterback because of the flexibility the 3-4 offers, such as using linebackers to rush the passer and in pass coverage.

But implementing a system he is learning for the first time will make Zimmer's journey to his unit's improvement intriguing.

Not only are the Cowboys counting on some rookies to make it work, but two of their best players from last season -- end Greg Ellis and tackle La'Roi Glover -- will see their roles diminished.

Of the defensive coaches, only secondary coach Todd Bowles, from his days with the New York Jets under Parcells, has an extensive history in the scheme. It's new to line coach Kacy Rodgers and linebackers coach Gary Gibbs.

"Usually, when you go into a season, not everybody in the room is learning something new," Zimmer said. "Pretty much this year, everybody in the room is learning something new -- players and coaches."

Still, the person under the most pressure is Zimmer, who faces the grim reality of being second-guessed all season by a head coach who knows more about the 3-4.

If the Cowboys start slowly on defense, Zimmer can expect Parcells to interject, even though the head coach is expected to spend most of his time concentrating on offense.

Parcells interjected last season when the Cowboys were running Zimmer's style of defense.

Considering the expectations of a quick turnaround in 2005, does Zimmer feel pressure to produce?

Certainly, but no more than last season or the season before.

"You put your reputation on the line every time you go on the field," Zimmer said. "It was on the line last year.

"People around the league know I am a pretty good coach, that I can coach the 4-3 and all of that," Zimmer said. "Now they might say he can't coach the 3-4 because he doesn't know it. Rather than people tell me how great a coach I am, to me, it's more of a challenge to prove a bunch of people wrong."

Browns report
Lineman Verba wants a new deal

another player who wants a new deal

Critically speaking, Barlow has a ball
49ers- Kevan Barlow reviews The Longest Yard


05-27-2005, 06:16 PM
Gee, maybe we could sign Kendall Jacox, I hear he's one of those great "team" players that'll play anywhere on the line for you. ;)

05-28-2005, 02:51 AM
Just for kicks ? Chicago cut kicker Paul Edinger ... and signed veteran Doug Brien .... Brien will compete with rookies Nick Novak (Maryland) and Tyler Jones (Boise State) and ex-Notre Dame kicker Nick Setta, who is playing in NFL Europe.

I thought both Jones and Setta were pretty good college kickers (not that we need one) and both should be able to land jobs in the NFL.

05-28-2005, 10:23 AM
Patience not a Parcells virtue ????


Bill Parcells' parting words to his team after a dismal 6-10 finish last season went something like "Changes are coming."

Not only did the Cowboys coach follow through to the point of almost needing "Hello, I am ... " name tags in the locker room, but change remained a buzzword for him as the team opened minicamp Friday.

"I let them know that my mind-set about this team has changed," Parcells said. "I think if there was an inattention to results on my part, then that would be a foolish thing. Obviously, I looked at the season last year along with [owner] Jerry [Jones,] and neither of us were very happy about the result. We didn't sit here and hope things would get better. We tried to do something about it. We are going to continue to try to do something about it."

If it sounds like he is threatening more changes, it is because he is.

The Cowboys do not have a clear-cut option at right tackle, a fact exacerbated by Torrin Tucker showing up for off-season workouts "substantially overweight," and Jacob Rogers' continuing failure to live up to his second-round 2004 draft selection. Nor do the Cowboys have a strong safety, with Parcells leaving the door open to sign a veteran if nobody emerges.

No, the revolving door is not completely closed at Valley Ranch, a point that Parcells is not going to wait for an end-of-season meeting to hammer home this time around.

Getting value

One of the Cowboys' biggest off-season expenditures was right guard Marco Rivera.

The Cowboys figured he was worth the money because they could shore up two positions with one signing bonus. Not only did he fill the hole left by Andre Gurode; having him there would make whoever starts at right tackle better.

When Rivera required surgery for a herniated disc in the off-season, there was much consternation.

"Don't worry," Rivera said Friday. "I'm on schedule to be ready to go with the team in July. I know I'll be ready to play."

Rivera is one of the six players held out of the minicamp, but Bill Parcells said it was strictly for precautionary reasons. Parcells shares Rivera's optimism that he'll be ready when the season begins. Protecting the quarterback is key, with Drew Bledsoe coming off 140 sacks in his past three seasons with the Buffalo Bills.

It is not the only key to improving the offense, though, according to passing-game coordinator Sean Payton.

"We've got to reduce turnovers, score more points and be more effective in the red zone," Payton said. "Some of those things don't necessarily pertain to that group only."


• Joining Marco Rivera (back) and Jacob Rogers (hip) in the did-not-participate list for minicamp were rookies Chris Canty and Kevin Burnett, who were recovering from eye and hip surgeries. Offensive lineman Tyson Walter was held out after missing some of the off-season conditioning program with a fractured wrist.

• Long snapper Jeff Robinson was not at camp. Parcells called it an excused absence, but the Cowboys wanted to try out other (read: cheaper) long snappers to see if they need to pay big money to a snapper. Robinson is schedule to make $1.1 million in 2005.

• Parcells might need to change rookie Marcus Spears' nickname. "Chubby Checker" has lost 13 pounds since the rookie minicamp.

• Wide receiver/linebacker Bobby Sippio and linebacker/fullback Duke Pettijohn of the Arena Football League Desperados are working out with the Cowboys. Sippio will get a look at defensive back and Pettijohn will work at linebacker.

Need a second chance? Broncos may have a spot open


DENVER -- The tailback is one of the most divisive figures in the history of college football. The punter has issues -- with the law, with steroids and, believe it or not, with a family of kickers. Most recently, Jerry Rice came into the fold.

The Oakland Raiders used to have the market cornered on players in need of a second chance. This offseason, though, it's the Denver Broncos taking chances on the aging, the troubled and the difficult.

Although none of the players -- Rice, Maurice Clarett and Todd Sauerbrun, to name a few -- is costing the Broncos much in terms of money or draft picks, there are other risks involved. Most notably, the Denver locker room could be one of the most scrutinized in the league this season, full of big names and big personalities.

How the new guys fit in, and how the players react to possible distractions, could play a big role in how well the Broncos do in 2005.

"I have no concerns," coach Mike Shanahan said. "These are professionals and I expect them to act as professionals."

Nobody has any doubts about Rice's character. He's arguably the best player to play the game and he has agreed with Shanahan that he must earn his spot on the roster. If that happens, he then must be happy to serve as a role player.

It means he won't be able to repeat last year's episode, when he grew upset with his shrinking role in the Oakland offense and eventually forced a trade to Seattle.

"I really don't want this to be a big distraction to the team," the 42-year-old receiver said.

Clarett and Sauerbrun have much more sordid pasts.

The Broncos surprised many people when they used a third-round draft pick to choose Clarett, the tailback who sued the NFL to enter the draft early and also turned on his old school, Ohio State, accusing coaches of providing him with improper benefits.

Clarett insists all that is behind him, but he will be under the microscope this season. The first day of a Broncos minicamp this month drew about 30 reporters, including a handful from out of town, all in search of Clarett, who didn't speak until later in the week.

Clarett acknowledged being something of an intriguing presence to his teammates.

"But after we ran a couple plays and we talked to each other and I communicated with them in the weight room, they don't even look at me like, 'What went on?'" he said. "It's kind of like you're a part of the group right now, either help us or move on."

Sauerbrun, meanwhile, has boycotted the media -- part of his bizarre 11-year existence in the NFL, during which he has caused more trouble than most punters probably ever could.

He was arrested and pleaded guilty to drunken driving charges. He was one of three players named in a CBS report as having obtained illegal steroid prescriptions. He also has a strange feud going with the Gramatica brothers, one that was so intense that he asked his former team, Carolina, to not bring Bill Gramatica in for a tryout when the Panthers' regular kicker got hurt last season.

The Panthers said OK and asked Sauerbrun to consider taking the kicking chores, but the punter said he'd do it only if the team would refund some of the money it fined him for being overweight. The Panthers refused.

Given all that, it was no wonder Carolina was willing to let Sauerbrun go for Denver punter Jason Baker and a seventh-round draft pick.

Sauerbrun has been one of the best punters in the league though and, as is the case with Clarett and Rice, Shanahan is hoping he might be a cog in getting Denver to the Super Bowl.

"I'm not saying that these guys haven't had issues, but with the type of guys we've got on this football team, they'd better step up and live to the right standard or they won't be here," Shanahan said in an interview with The Rocky Mountain News. "That's the bottom line."

Last season, after then-Vikings receiver Randy Moss pretended to moon the crowd in Green Bay while celebrating a touchdown, Shanahan said he wouldn't put up with a player who acted like that.

"I believe there's a standard that should be demonstrated to the fans, and once someone crosses that line it's tough for me," he said. "Basically, I despise it."

Yet he has taken chances on risky players before. Darrien Gordon and Alfred Williams worked out well. Dale Carter and Daryl Gardener did not.

Clarett and Sauerbrun aren't the only risks and retreads Shanahan is taking chances on this offseason. The Broncos revamped their entire defensive line with players who didn't do well in Cleveland.

Courtney Brown was a first-round draft pick in 2000 whose performance has been hindered by injuries.

Gerard Warren was a first-round pick a year later who has been better known for his disciplinary problems than his play on the field. As a rookie, he was fined $35,000 for a vicious hit on Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell; last season he was warned by the league after he threatened to deliver a head shot on Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger.

This season, though, Warren is only a bit player among the reclamation projects the Broncos have brought in.

"Honestly, looking at it, I don't think we're taking a risk with any of them," owner Pat Bowlen told the Rocky. "Those guys are going to come in to play, they'll either make the team or they won't. But if those guys become a problem, then they're gone."

For Shanarat, it's no gray area
Coach insists that experience pays off


05-28-2005, 11:07 AM

ON ONE SIDE, the Ravens have their top player of the past decade, and on the other their top player of the future. They both want more money, but it appears the Ravens only have definitive plans for one.

Is Ravens safety Ed Reed on the outside looking in, and linebacker Ray Lewis on the inside looking out?

The Ravens are intent on re-signing possible free agents after the 2005 season like tight end Todd Heap and running back Jamal Lewis, and they have claimEd Reed is a priority, but are in no apparent rush to restructure the four years left on Ray Lewis' contract.

It's a sensitive situation, one the Ravens have to handle carefully, or it could blow up on them much like it did on the Cleveland Browns when they released Bernie Kosar.

According to general manager Ozzie Newsome, Lewis has four years left on his current contract. Team and league officials have indicated he wants a new deal with a $50 million signing bonus.

Lewis doesn't deserve that kind of money.

But the team has to treat Lewis much like the Orioles treated Cal Ripken. Here's a player that gave the Ravens an identity around the league shortly after the franchise moved from Cleveland to Baltimore in 1996.

He was the most dominant force behind the team's Super Bowl run in the 2000 season. He also became the team's top ambassador in the community, a spokesman for the club in trying to sign free agents. As expected, Lewis' performance has declined some with age, but it will be interesting to see how he performs in the new 46 defense, where the Ravens will try to keep him untouched by offensive linemen so he can run sideline to sideline.

Lewis seems like he is prepared to yield some of the power he has held through the years, a source of contention in the locker room last season. He also scoffed at rumors that he would be a no-show at the opening of training camp or that he was trying to collude with Heap and Reed for all three to hold out to increase their leverage.

"Last offseason I trained with Ed Reed, but this year I'm on my own," said Ray Lewis. "Those rumors are ridiculous. Ed Reed has his own agent to advise him, not me.

"We're in the 46 defense now, and finally, finally again, I get to play football," said Lewis. "My job is not to take on offensive linemen, but to make running backs not want to play against me. Last year, there was a lot of personal stuff going on, petty stuff, in the locker room. This year, I'm just going to play football. I don't want to be a GM, I don't want to be a coach. I'm going to be a player again, and end up being the Most Valuable Player, not just on defense, but for the entire league."

If that happens, the Ravens won't have a problem with a new deal. "Yeah, but I might ask for A-Rod numbers then," said Lewis, laughing.

But right now, the teams is going to stay status quo as far as offering a contract extension.

"When we reworked Ray's deal in 2002, that deal was done to allow him to retire as a Raven," said Newsome.

There's the hint. The Ravens want Lewis to prove he has been reborn, but regardless, they'll have to compensate him in some way for what he has done for the franchise. It's a tough situation.

Reed's isn't as complicated. Privately, he has threatened to stay out of training camp if he doesn't get a new deal. He has two years left on his current one, and will make only $550,000 in base salary this season.

You can understand why he wants a new contract. He's a playmaker and was the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year last season. More important, he's only 26 and will eventually replace Lewis as the defensive leader.

The Ravens should just roll up the mint trucks and give Reed the money. Before that, though, they ought to tell him to tone it down, get his ego in check to prevent the same chemistry problems that happened a year ago.

Despite reports to the contrary, the Ravens aren't close to a deal with Reed.

Jackson sued for $10M


An Ypsilanti man is suing former University of Michigan football player Marlin Jackson for $10 million over a 2003 altercation.

In the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Washtenaw County Circuit Court, Shahin Farokhrany alleges he's suffered permanent vision loss, mental and physical anguish, and "general damages in the millions of dollars" after the June 1, 2003 incident.

Jackson, who was selected in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts last month, pleaded guilty to a charge of misdemeanor aggravated assault on Aug. 14, 2003 as part of a plea agreement and was later sentenced to probation. The charge stemmed from a party where Jackson admitted to hitting Farokhrany in the right eye, but denied hitting him with a bottle, as Farokhrany claimed.

After the August hearing, Farokhrany expressed a desire to move on.

"I love Michigan football and I'm proud of him," Farokhrany told reporters. "One day I'll see him in the NFL or something. Sometimes, people get drunk and make mistakes. Hopefully, he won't be hitting people in the face again."

Farokhrany also told reporters after the 2003 hearing that he didn't suffer any permanent damage to his vision and would not pursue civil action against Jackson.

But the lawsuit again contends that Jackson hit Farokhrany with a bottle, and Farokhrany has needed continued medical care, has been limited in attending school and has been unable to work since the incident.

Jackson's agent, Doug Hendrickson of Octagon, could not be reached for comment.

A message left for Farokhrany's attorney, Michael Behan, was not returned.

Romanowski settles ex-teammate's lawsuit for $415,000
mr. roid rage got off easy


Former Oakland Raiders linebacker Bill Romanowski will pay $415,000 to ex-teammate Marcus Williams, whom he punched in the face during a practice, attorneys said Friday.

An Alameda County jury ruled in March that Romanowski, 38, should pay Williams $340,000 in lost wages and medical expenses for the incident two years ago.

But Williams, who had sought millions of dollars in damages, was seeking a new trial — despite announcing after the verdict the case was not about money but proving what was right and wrong in football.

“We’re delighted to have settled the case,” said Romanowski attorney Jeffrey Springer of Denver. “Bill just wanted to get it resolved. This allows him to move on to all the exciting things he’s doing.”

Williams’ attorneys had argued that Romanowski crossed the line, even in an admittedly violent sport. Williams, 27, suffered a broken left eye socket, which he testified left him with blurry vision, poor balance, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Romanowski, a longtime advocate of performance-enhancing substances who has been implicated in the BALCO steroids scandal, testified that he had punched Williams only after his teammate pushed him in the back during the August 2003 practice.

After six-week trial, which included testimony from former 49ers and Raiders players Ronnie Lott and Jerry Rice, jurors decided that Romanowski did not act maliciously or intentionally inflict emotional distress and declined to award punitive damages or to compensate Williams for future medical expenses.

They awarded him $300,000 for lost earnings and $40,000 to cover past medical expenses.

Williams’ lead attorney, James Brosnahan of San Francisco, said Friday that he and his client are pleased to have reached a settlement that is higher than the jury’s award.

“We think the case does stand for something, which is sports and violence,” Brosnahan said, adding that he thinks the verdict and settlement will send a message to former and current players — and will hit Romanowski in the pocketbook.

“I believe the impact will be that he and others will refrain from that kind of behavior in the future,” Brosnahan said

05-28-2005, 01:47 PM
$50 MILLION SIGNING BONUS!! I guess we know where all the alleged drugs that Jamal was going to get really went now. Ray Lewis was NEVER that good. He should thank his lucky stars that he is still getting paid to play football when he SHOULD be in jail. Oh well, just another example of what a quality character team the Baltimore Felons are.

Go Bolts!
:Bolt: :Bolt: :Bolt:

05-28-2005, 03:08 PM
An Ypsilanti man is suing former University of Michigan football player Marlin Jackson for $10 million over a 2003 altercation.

In the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Washtenaw County Circuit Court, Shahin Farokhrany alleges he's suffered permanent vision loss, mental and physical anguish, and "general damages in the millions of dollars" after the June 1, 2003 incident...

"I love Michigan football and I'm proud of him," Farokhrany told reporters. "One day I'll see him in the NFL or something.

Looks like his vision is good enough to see that Jackson was a first round pick!

05-28-2005, 04:20 PM
$50 MILLION SIGNING BONUS!! I guess we know where all the alleged drugs that Jamal was going to get really went now. Ray Lewis was NEVER that good. He should thank his lucky stars that he is still getting paid to play football when he SHOULD be in jail. Oh well, just another example of what a quality character team the Baltimore Felons are.

Go Bolts!
:Bolt: :Bolt: :Bolt:

There is give and take on both sides of the table,and owners are no better. But some athletes just make me sick, when they sign a contract, they should honor it, instead they play one or two of multi year deal, then so and so get's a better deal. Then the pouting begins.
They are a bunch of over paid BRATs.

05-28-2005, 06:05 PM
There is give and take on both sides of the table,and owners are no better. But some athletes just make me sick, when they sign a contract, they should honor it, instead they play one or two of multi year deal, then so and so get's a better deal. Then the pouting begins.
They are a bunch of over paid BRATs.

Hey, give the guy a break...you'd be screaming for more money too if you had to support a drug habit, lawyers and a different hoochie momma in every city you went to.

05-29-2005, 07:28 AM
And don't forget the Taxes!

05-29-2005, 10:26 AM
I dont condone this person's pill poping,nor his action on the field of play or practice. His use of drugs may have a lot to do with his actions, still doesn't make any of it excusable. Work ethic is to be commended,and it is amazing what some players will do to play the game of Football.

This article is 3 pages long, but will only post the first page. I thought it was a good read by John Clayton of the do's and don'ts of an athlete.


As a rookie linebacker with the San Francisco 49ers in 1988, Bill Romanowski was high on job anxieties and low on funds. He was headed to the Super Bowl, but his body, dragging from the long first year, needed a little push. So he decided to splurge on a massage.

The treatment did more than revitalize his body. It opened his eyes to alternative ways of getting it ready for the punishment of the NFL. In the Super Bowl, Romanowski played a great game. His muscles were as stimulated as his mind.

He continued massage treatments after his rookie season. Before long, they led to learning about nutrition. Eventually, he had purchased a hyperbaric chamber and hired some of the best and brightest body specialists in the world.

"The game is not good for you, it's not good for the human body," Romanowski said. "I wanted to offset as many of the bad side effects as possible. Not only did I want to be the best out on the field, but I wanted to be able to handle the kind of trauma the body endures."

Through hard work and harder study – and admittedly pushing the envelope when it came to the NFL's drug policy – Romanowski's 6-foot-4, 245-pound body survived 16 seasons in the league. To do so, he trained harder every year. The more he learned, the more he invested in his body. He hired massage therapists, chiropractors and weight trainers, and the list goes on and on.

By his final season in 2003, he had more than 10 specialists on his payroll, which grew to around $250,000 a year, a figure Romanowski didn't flinch at paying. Why? Because it worked. He started 243 consecutive games, played in four Super Bowls and eight conference championship games.

"I would have been out of the league probably by my sixth year to my eighth year had I not done what I did," Romanowski said. "Injuries would have caught up with me. What happens is, your body is an amazing compensator. But if you don't address things, eventually you would break down."

Romanowski is currently available for interviews because of his acting role in "The Longest Yard," which opened Friday. In the big-budget Adam Sandler movie, Romanowski plays Guard Lambert, a guard who plays on the prison football team.

In the fall, his long-awaited book will be published. It will detail his career and how he survived 16 seasons through nutrition and alternative therapy. At the moment, the book is untitled. An early, working title was "My Jekyll and Hyde Life," but Romanowski didn't think that headline grabber accurately described his body of work in the NFL. Eventually, he says the title will deal with dreams and dragons, the good and bad of what he did to keep his body in condition to play in the NFL.

Much has been made of his links to BALCO, the laboratory that produced so-called designer steroids, and more recently, his comments to the Rocky Mountain News in which he admitted to staying one step ahead of the NFL's drug testing policy. "As soon as they found out that something could be tested for, I stopped taking it," he told the paper. "I didn't want that embarrassment, but I pushed that envelope ethically and morally, because if I could take something that would help me perform better, and it wasn't on the list, I was going to take it."




05-29-2005, 10:30 PM
Colts safety arrested (http://www.latimes.com/sports/football/nfl/wire/sns-ap-fbn-colts-doss-arrested,1,5097261.story?coll=sns-ap-football-headlines&ctrack=1&cset=true) on gun charges:

AKRON, Ohio -- Indianapolis Colts safety Mike Doss was arrested Sunday on gun charges. Police heard five or six shots coming from outside a restaurant around 2:20 a.m., and found shell casings in the area and a gun in Doss' vehicle, according to a statement issued by the Akron Police Department.

The 24-year-old Doss was charged with carrying a concealed weapon, discharging a firearm within city limits, inducing panic and obstructing official business. He posted bond and was released pending a court appearance.

Doss is a third-year pro who won a national championship at Ohio State in 2002.

05-29-2005, 11:45 PM
Colts safety arrested (http://www.latimes.com/sports/football/nfl/wire/sns-ap-fbn-colts-doss-arrested,1,5097261.story?coll=sns-ap-football-headlines&ctrack=1&cset=true) on gun charges:

AKRON, Ohio -- Indianapolis Colts safety Mike Doss was arrested Sunday on gun charges. Police heard five or six shots coming from outside a restaurant around 2:20 a.m., and found shell casings in the area and a gun in Doss' vehicle, according to a statement issued by the Akron Police Department.

The 24-year-old Doss was charged with carrying a concealed weapon, discharging a firearm within city limits, inducing panic and obstructing official business. He posted bond and was released pending a court appearance.

Doss is a third-year pro who won a national championship at Ohio State in 2002.

Now we know why Clarett had such a good year...his teammates were packin'.

05-30-2005, 06:26 AM
Guess that guy will get traded to the Baltimore Felons, who will fit right in with the rest of the quality people there.

Go Bolts!
:Bolt: :Bolt: :Bolt:

05-31-2005, 05:39 PM
has anyone heard about any chargers looking at more signing or rookie agree ments also i think shamrock gets the la times because when you click on the word arrested you go to the sign in page for latimes.com either that or he is working for them or mabye he just gets info from them.

05-31-2005, 06:17 PM
i think shamrock gets the la times because when you click on the word arrested you go to the sign in page for latimes.com either that or he is working for them or mabye he just gets info from them.
I just clicked on it again, and the story comes up. I don't know if you have to register on their website or not .... I can't remember if I registered there.

05-31-2005, 06:27 PM
has anyone heard about any chargers looking at more signing or rookie agree ments also i think shamrock gets the la times because when you click on the word arrested you go to the sign in page for latimes.com either that or he is working for them or mabye he just gets info from them.

The next NFL feeding frenzy should start after tomorrow when the June 1st heads start to roll!

05-31-2005, 08:55 PM
ya ty law will be gone cud be a great accusation for the chargers but we know marty woudnt pick him up and bury our young dbs

06-02-2005, 04:08 PM
ya ty law will be gone cud be a great accusation for the chargers but we know marty woudnt pick him up and bury our young dbs Yeah.....law, robinson, gardner a safety.....maybe a pass rusher that will sign with the team.....you know things like that...

06-02-2005, 04:26 PM

Seahawks cut troubled Robinson, Taylor


J. Lewis asks to go to Ravens' minicamp
Running back submits request to Federal Bureau of Prisons


Jamal Lewis has submitted a request to the Federal Bureau of Prisons that could allow him to attend the Ravens' mandatory minicamp this month and report to training camp on time, his attorney confirmed yesterday.

The Ravens running back is scheduled to be released today from Federal Prison Camp in Pensacola, Fla., after serving a four-month term for pleading guilty to using a cell phone to arrange a drug deal in 2000. Lewis will be transported to Atlanta, where he has been ordered to live in a halfway house for the next two months.

Last week, it appeared as if the former All-Pro would stay in Atlanta until Aug. 2 after his lawyer, Jerome Froelich, said he probably wouldn't ask to move the location of the halfway house to the Baltimore area.

But according to Froelich, Lewis has now sought permission to attend the Ravens' June 13-16 minicamp. It's uncertain when the bureau will render its verdict on his requests.

"I'm still hopeful that we can have a certain amount of interaction with him here," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "If he can just be up here for the mandatory camp, I think that would be huge. If he can't truly be here, it's unfortunate but not an obstacle."

Froelich made his requests directly to the federal Bureau of Prisons, which has authority over Lewis until he is freed.

"The government [prosecutors] and the judge have no say," the attorney said. "It's strictly a bureau decision."

There also is a chance that Lewis will be able to leave the halfway house a couple of days early so he could avoid missing any portion of training camp, which begins Aug. 1 at McDaniel College.

Lewis, the NFL's 2003 Offensive Player of the Year, has led the Ravens in rushing in each of his four seasons.

"They seem to have a fair understanding of work obligations," Billick said. "When you're talking two or three days, I would hope reason would prevail and they would recognize that this guy needs to get about his work and he's paid his dues."

Jenkins in top form
Panther rips rival Sapp, talks about weight & drinking


Although he's admittedly overweight, Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Kris Jenkins was in midseason form Thursday.

Moving from topic to topic with impressive speed, the two-time Pro Bowler blindsided a long-time enemy, admitted he drank too much when he missed most of last season with a shoulder injury and talked about his annual ritual of shedding weight between now and the start of the season.

After months of struggling with the emotions that came along with his injury, Jenkins said he's nearly back to top form. That became obvious as he addressed the media on the second day of organized coaching sessions.

The highlight came when Jenkins, who never has been afraid to speak his mind, ripped Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Warren Sapp.

"I hate him," Jenkins said. "Everybody says I'm supposed to be polite when I talk to you all. But I hate him. He talks too much. He doesn't make any sense. He's fat. He's sloppy. He acts like he's the best thing since sliced bread. He's ugly. He stinks. His mouth stinks. His breath stinks and basically, his soul stinks, too.

"Too many people can't have personalities like that and survive in life. I don't know how he does it. I guess because he's big and he went to Miami."

Sapp could not be reached for comment Thursday. But this was not the first time words have been exchanged between Carolina's defensive line and Sapp.

Two years ago, Sapp took exception when Panthers defensive tackle Brentson Buckner said Carolina had the NFL's best defensive line. Sapp, then a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, slammed Buckner specifically and the rest of the defensive line in general several times.

The rivalry ran so deep that Jenkins said a loss to Sapp and the Raiders last season forced him to turn to alcohol. That game came on Nov. 7, more than a month after Jenkins was placed on the injured-reserve list after having shoulder surgery. Even before his season ended, sources said Jenkins was fined by Panthers for being late to at least one team meeting.

Jenkins admitted the injury at first led to some tough times in his life and none was tougher than watching the Oakland loss.

"When we played Oakland and we lost to Sapp, I stopped going to the games then," Jenkins said. "I was going to the games up to that point. I couldn't go to the games anymore. After that, that's when ...I've never been an alcoholic, but I upped my consistency of it.

"It was something that I just did a lot more sitting around the house. I'd come in for treatment and that's it. I wouldn't do anything. If I had my son, I'd take care of my son. But, if I didn't have my son, I wouldn't do anything. It was just for a period of time, I just didn't do anything."

Jenkins said the turning point came a few weeks after the season when he was on vacation in Miami.

"It was just one of those things, I was like, "I'm going to be all right". It didn't take a lot. It was one time it just clicked."

In hindsight, Jenkins said the injury may have helped him as a player and a person.

"It was cool because all I had to do was deal with myself," Jenkins said. "Then, I got tired of the drinking because that wasn't helping. After I didn't have anything to kind of take my focus off it, I had to deal with myself and I had to understand some things and face my demons. It helped me out."

06-02-2005, 04:53 PM
Yeah.....law, robinson, gardner a safety.....maybe a pass rusher that will sign with the team.....you know things like that...
Koren Robinson? You want that guy? When he does play he drops all kinds of passes. He's hooked on some sort of drug, misses meetings, etc. I'd bet AJ wouldn't take him at minimum wage, let alone NFL minimum.

Something has to still be wrong with Ty Law because he's still not being offered a job by any of the 32 teams. It must be that he's still not well physically.

06-02-2005, 07:06 PM
I wish Ty Law play for the Chargers but with the price he put on himself nobody wants him now.

Cut it in half and Chargers will have a new cornerback.

06-02-2005, 07:31 PM
Koren Robinson? You want that guy? When he does play he drops all kinds of passes. He's hooked on some sort of drug, misses meetings, etc. I'd bet AJ wouldn't take him at minimum wage, let alone NFL minimum.

Something has to still be wrong with Ty Law because he's still not being offered a job by any of the 32 teams. It must be that he's still not well physically.

You’ve got to wonder if he can make it all the way back after his injury. He is no spring chicken and I have to believe that a lot of NFL teams are just a tad bit gun shy about giving him a big contract with that kind of question lingering. He is going to have sign for a lot less than he thinks he should if he wants to play this year.

Go Bolts!
:Bolt: :Bolt: :Bolt:

06-02-2005, 09:39 PM
Those of you who know me know how much I love Michigan players, but even I have to vote "no" on Ty Law. First of all, he's represented by Kevin Poston who seems to have his own agenda in this thing. Apparently Poston is pushing a multi-year deal in the franchise tag area - $7 plus million a year. I have, though, seen some rumors that Law, himself, is putting pressure on Poston to drop the figure down to the $3 million range. Regardless, Law just had the screws taken out of his broken foot a month ago and Poston is definitely pushing for all bonus money to come in the form of signing instead of performance. That way, if Ty's foot falls apart five minutes after the contract is signed, he still gets the big money. Here's a clip from yesterday's internet reprint out of a May 12th Detroit newspaper article after Law's visit with the Lions:
Law, who played at Michigan and has spent his 10 pro seasons with the three-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, made a favorable impression in a visit Tuesday with Lions officials.

But a signing does not appear imminent, and health and financial issues are involved.

06-03-2005, 08:35 PM

By RICK GOSSELIN / The Dallas Morning News

WASHINGTON – Ralph Wilson once wrote a check for $400,000 to keep the Oakland Raiders afloat.

That was in 1961, the second year of the American Football League. Wilson owned the Buffalo Bills but realized the importance of keeping all eight teams competitive in the fledgling league. So Wilson made an investment in the future of the AFL.

Wilson hopes his fellow NFL owners are willing to make the same investment in 2005.

For decades, NFL teams have been sharing revenue, primarily network television dollars and ticket sales. That's allowed small-market teams such as Buffalo and Green Bay to stay competitive with the Chicagos and New Yorks.

But as revenues have skyrocketed in recent years and a new generation of business-minded owner has arrived in the NFL, there's been a shift in thinking. The franchises with an ability to earn more money want to keep more of that money.

So revenue sharing was on the agenda both days at the NFL meeting this week without resolution. The owners must decide how to divvy up the billions of dollars in league-generated revenue among themselves before they can decide how much to offer the players in the next collective bargaining agreement.

The big-market teams such as Dallas, Washington and Philadelphia want to keep a greater portion of the unshared revenue they can generate, which includes money from suites and club seats plus stadium signage and naming rights. After all, it is their money.

But the small-market, low-revenue teams such as Buffalo and Cincinnati want an increased share to remain competitive.

"We're supplying content," Wilson said. "The networks are buying content. When we field a team in Buffalo, we're supplying content when we come to Dallas. Dallas can't play Philadelphia every other week. It's a national sport. The networks have bought a national sport."

Wilson resents the implication by Jerry Jones that the Cowboys work harder at marketing and merchandising themselves than other teams.

"Jerry has been saying he's an entrepreneur," Wilson said. "He's been saying it in these meetings for years – 'We've got to have some entrepreneurship.' I don't begrudge any franchise making all the money they want. But Dallas is a bigger market than Buffalo. Certainly they can sell more T-shirts and caps and paraphernalia. That's fine.

"But I take issue with Jerry in his claim that they work harder than anybody else. We work just as hard in a smaller market as he does in his larger market. This is not Russia, where every team makes the same as the other team. Every team should be able to make enough money so that they can field a competitive team."

But Jones believes the shared revenue provides ample money for all teams to compete.

"This league shares 85 percent of the revenue," Jones said. "Nothing I've seen says it's going to get any different in the future, because shared is going to outdistance unshared percentage-wise. That should keep us all very competitive."

Wilson insists he isn't asking for any handouts to survive. His Bills do play in an 80,000-seat stadium. But he does expect his fellow owners to accept the reality that a team in Dallas has greater opportunities and potential for revenue than a team in Buffalo.

"I don't expect Jerry Jones to take money out of his pocket and say, 'Here, Wilson, take this,' " Wilson said. "But I do expect him to take a dollar out and say, 'Here, come play me next week, will you?' "

Jones said it's important that teams be allowed to keep that 15 percent of the unshared revenue. If all the money is shared, he believes, there would be no incentive for teams to increase their own revenues.

"To the extent that from time to time we have teams that are in a financial situation that can't compete, I'll be first in line to help those teams," Jones said. "But the question is this: Is the incentive there to work to fill your own stadium? Stadiums aren't full. Do you want some incentive for people to get out in their market area and fill those stadiums?

"That's different than not appreciating the competitive balance that we have in our league and the ability of teams to compete financially."

Lamar Hunt, who along with Wilson is an original AFL owner – plus a small-market NFL owner (Kansas City Chiefs) – thinks the two factions will eventually reach an agreement.

"We're not going to self-destruct," Hunt said. "There's a recognition that revenue sharing has been very important to the league and made this league. We have to look at things as a 32-team league. People see and understand how important this [issue] is."

From scout.com/warpaint illustrated

The Chiefs will meet with former Philadelphia Eagle wide receiver Freddie Mitchell. He’s worked out with the Carolina Panthers and division rival Oakland but Carl Peterson confirmed late Thursday night that they are willing to accept the overtures from his agent and thus Mitchell will be in town next week for a private workout.

We've also confirmed that the Chiefs are interested in former Seattle Seahawk receiver Koren Robinson. He was released on Thursday after being arrested for a DUI. The Chiefs were very high on him four years ago and they feel that with offensive coordinator Al Saunders and wide receivers coach Charlie Joiner on his side that they can bring out his best on the football field once again. Granted if convicted of the DUI that he was charged with last week, he could be suspended again but Robinson has more upside than any other receiver on the market. With that said, don't be surprised if Robinson and Mitchell both visit Kansas City next week.

Another possibility might have been Atlanta Falcons Peerless Price but reports indicate that he’s considering retirement. Another player to keep an eye on is Washington Redskins receiver Rod Gardner. Neither Price nor Gardner has officially been released by their respective teams so it’s premature that either will be available.

In other news, veteran cornerback Bobby Taylor has been cut by the Seattle Seahawks and he could be in the mix along with Ty Law to make a visit to the Chiefs in the next week or so. Kansas City would like to see how Law is getting along on his injured foot. Despite suggestions otherwise, the Chiefs remain in the hunt for Law. If they pass on him, then Taylor could be a possibility if Kansas City hopes to add another veteran cornerback in the event Eric Warfield is suspended the first four games of the season.

Tackle L.J. Shelton is still trying to get a visit with the Chiefs. Thus far Kansas City has not shown any interest in him despite the efforts of his agent to get him in town for a workout.

06-03-2005, 08:48 PM

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., June 2 - Once, he was the Giants' wild card, lining up anywhere on the field except where opponents expected. In his first two seasons, Jeremy Shockey would split out wide like a flanker or split end, move into the slot where he could act like a third receiver or even line up next to the tackle in the traditional spot for a tight end

But with the arrival of Coach Tom Coughlin last year, the traditional ruled, as Shockey was called upon to work more as an in-line blocker than at any other time since he joined the Giants. As a result, he had the lowest yards-per-catch average of his three-year career.

Now, as the Giants prepare for a crucial season after two consecutive losing years, Shockey is pleading with coaches to let him run wild again, insisting that the team open up its conservative offense and allow him to be used more as a downfield receiving threat.

"We need to get more stretch in our offense besides catching little itty-bitty 5-, 6-yard yard passes," Shockey said on Thursday, the second day of the Giants' three-day minicamp. "Everybody knows that; it's not a mystery. Everybody knows that in order to have a good offense you have to stretch the field."

Last season, the Giants' offense finished 23rd over all in the N.F.L. and 26th in passing, numbers that can be attributed largely to the installation of a new system and the turbulence and growing pains that accompanied Eli Manning's elevation to starting quarterback in Week 11.

Shockey, who had called for the ball more often early last season, but later backed off those remarks, said on Thursday that he believed the Giants could improve on those statistics this season because of three factors: Manning's development, greater familiarity with the playbook by all of the offensive players and the addition of receiver Plaxico Burress through free agency.

Shockey said he hoped that with established receivers in Burress and Amani Toomer, the Giants could force defensive coaches to pick their poison. "We all could work together," Shockey said, adding that if they were on the same page, "we can definitely stretch the field and help each other."

Shockey did not shrink from taking his share of the blame for some of the Giants' struggles on offense last year. His numbers - a team-leading 61 receptions and a career-high six touchdowns, but only 10.9 yards a reception - reflect what Shockey concedes was a mixed year.

However, he is hopeful that this season he can return to the form that he showed as a rookie in 2002, when his speed and 6-foot-5, 252-pound frame made him seem like a prototype for the tight-end position.

But after an uneven two years, in which his development seemed slowed by injuries and maddeningly ill-timed drops, Shockey appeared to slide from the ranks of the N.F.L.'s elite tight ends.

He wants to return to that club. "I'm not trying to be average," he said, adding, "I want to win, that's the most important part, but I want to be on the list with the top tight ends because I know in my heart I'm just as good as they are."

This spring, Shockey was absent from the Giants' voluntary workout program. But he said his decision to train with his former college teammates at the University of Miami was another way to help him find his former playing self.

"I just kind of went back to the basics," he said.

Although Manning and Coughlin expressed dismay over Shockey's decision to stay in Miami, Shockey played down the significance of his absence and even said that he was no longer vexed by Coughlin's rules and demanding coaching style. "Be there five minutes early," Shockey said, invoking one of Coughlin's most sacred edicts. "You don't even have to think about it now - it's all in your head."

Coughlin, speaking with reporters before Shockey's remarks during a lunch break, praised his development into a complete tight end who can catch as well as block. "And, of course, he's a nice vertical threat up the field," Coughlin said.

One play near the end of practice on Thursday indicated that might be more than just rhetoric. Shockey lined up in the slot position like a third wide receiver, sprinted off the line of scrimmage and cut to his left on a post route.

Quarterback Tim Hasselbeck threw a crisp spiral that Shockey hauled in and cradled as he sprinted for an imaginary touchdown, running wild again - for one play at least.

Rick Spielman Leaves Miami Dolphins


Which team belongs in the Penitentiary leagues?


06-04-2005, 07:32 AM

Anybody glad the BOLTS didn't draft him ?

Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor yesterday was being sought by the Miami-Dade County Police Department in connection with a shooting Wednesday in South Florida.
Taylor, the club's talented but troubled 2004 first-round draft pick, was labeled a "person of interest," meaning police weren't sure whether he was a victim, suspect or witness in the shooting, which didn't injure anyone.
"We understand he was there," detective Nelda Fonticella said. "We have been in touch with his family, friends and team, but we haven't been able to locate him."

The incident is the latest in a well-publicized string of dubious moves by Taylor, and it comes during an offseason in which he now is the only Redskin declining to work out with his teammates at Redskin Park.
Coach Joe Gibbs, who champions the offseason workout program, hasn't been able to contact Taylor all offseason. Gibbs yesterday wasn't available for comment, and a team spokesman didn't return a phone call. Agent Drew Rosenhaus, who represents Taylor, also didn't return a call.
Fonticella said the shooting came during a dispute in a residential area in southern Dade County. Taylor played college football at the University of Miami and is working out this offseason in South Florida.
There was no further information available about the nature of the incident or who else was involved. Police were looking for "a couple more" people in connection with the shooting, Fonticella said. None of the others are football players.
Fonticella noted police weren't close to issuing a warrant for Taylor's arrest and that there is "not a set deadline" for him to turn himself in. The search for Taylor wasn't supposed to be made public and must have "leaked out," she added.
Taylor's off-field problems began soon after he was drafted. He fired two sets of agents, showed up late for the NFL rookie symposium, and missed a day of practice when a rookie prank went awry. During the season he was arrested for DUI, though he eventually was acquitted on all charges, and accused of spitting on an opponent.
Taylor's problems with the law are ironic given that his father is police chief of Florida City, Fla. Also, Gibbs last year often referred to Taylor as one of the most researched draft picks ever.
A year later, Gibbs has become at least a bit frustrated. The coach recently acknowledged that Taylor doesn't fit in with the type of team he is trying to build, but he said he hasn't given up on the 22-year-old.
"He's a gifted player," Gibbs said during a press conference last week. "So many times in sports, you're saying, 'How do I reach that guy there?' ... I certainly don't consider him a lost cause. He's a dynamic player, a great player. But [his continued absence from the workout program] has been a big disappointment for us."
Assistant head coach for defense Gregg Williams has shown less disappointment with Taylor's off-field issues, saying flatly he is "a Sean Taylor fan."
"I love the kid," Williams said in late April. "He is so much fun to coach, and so much fun to have on our team. It'll work out."

Cowher corrects his QB
Steelers coach denies Roethlisberger had broken toes


PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was exaggerating when he said he broke two toes on his right foot during the AFC championship game, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher said Wednesday.

Roethlisberger told reporters Tuesday he wore down physically during the lengthy NFL season and broke two toes while scrambling late in the first half of the 41-27 loss to the New England Patriots.

Cowher seemed irritated Roethlisberger would go public with such a claim, that, in effect, suggested the Steelers gambled with the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year's health by playing him when he was hurt.

"We are unaware of any problems with his toes, OK?" Cowher said.

Roethlisberger didn't specify which toes were broken and wasn't walking with an apparent limp Monday or Tuesday.

"Ben does not have broken toes," Cowher said, talking publicly for the first time since Sunday night, when the Steelers lost an AFC title game for the fourth time in 11 seasons. "At the end of the first half, while scrambling, he aggravated some toes he has broken in the past, in high school and college. He mentioned something to Ryan Grove, our assistant trainer, and said he may have broke his toe. When he came off, he said he was fine, and he went back out in the second half and didn't say anything to anybody else for the rest of the game."

Cowher said the injury was never mentioned during his meeting with Roethlisberger on Monday and nothing showed up during the rookie's physical exam Tuesday.

"I talked to Ben last night, and got it straight from his mouth, and that's that," Cowher said. "He never broke his toes this season. ... Nothing more will be done with it; it's nothing that rest won't cure. It's sore."

Roethlisberger's statistics improved after the injury. He was 5-of-10 for 77 yards and two pivotal interceptions as New England opened a 24-3 lead by halftime, but he was 9-of-14 for 149 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in the second half.

Roethlisberger also brushed off rumors he hurt his right thumb late in the season. There was speculation he wore a glove on his throwing hand as protection, though he discarded the glove for Sunday's game.

"I'm fine. I'll be healthy by next year," he said.

The vague answer was similar to that he offered after throwing two interceptions in a 20-17 overtime playoff victory over the New York Jets on Jan. 15. Then, asked about a possible thumb injury, he said, "I'm not going to make excuses."

Cowher also denied knowing about any thumb injury.

"His thumb, as far as I'm concerned, I don't think there is any problem with his thumb. He played pretty good in the second half," Cowher said.

Roethlisberger also said his passing arm became tired during his first NFL season, though he wouldn't speculate if it contributed to his late-season falloff in production. He had 12 touchdown passes and four interceptions in his first 10 starts, but only six TD passes and 10 interceptions in his last five -- including five interceptions in two playoff games.

"I didn't throw as much as Peyton Manning, but I threw a lot more than I did playing 10 or 12 games" in college, said Roethlisberger, unbeaten in his first 14 NFL starts before losing Sunday. "Physically it just wears on you a little bit."

Cowher said all rookies must adjust to the rigors of the NFL season.

"Ben is like everybody; it's a long year. It's a long year for a rookie, it's a grind and there's no way you can prepare for it," Cowher said. "To the kid's credit, he stayed out there and stayed focused. Ben was just being very honest with you guys, but again it's something everybody is going through."

Offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt said opponents began defending the Steelers' passing game differently as the season progressed, dropping more defenders into coverage on third down to make it harder for Roethlisberger to find receivers.

Winslow Sr.: 'He's not a piece of property'


INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Injured Cleveland Browns tight end Kellen Winslow II made his first public appearance since his motorcycle crash, and his father used the occasion Friday night to lambaste the media for its coverage of the accident.

The 21-year-old Winslow tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee when he wrecked his high-powered motorcycle May 1 while doing tricks in a secluded parking lot near his home. He will miss all of next season.

Winslow II, who missed 14 games as a rookie with a broken right leg, will undergo surgery in the next few weeks.

Shortly after arriving at an auction and roast celebrating the Browns' 1964 NFL championship team, the former first-round pick, who didn't limp, said he didn't want to talk to waiting reporters.

"No," he said politely. "I'm good."

Kellen Winslow Sr., who drove his son to the event and escorted him into the hotel, initially said he would not comment, either. However, a few hours later, the Hall of Famer changed his mind.

The former San Diego Chargers star angrily accused the media of turning the younger Winslow's accident and recovery into a spectacle.

"I'm disappointed in the way you guys have handled it. Twenty-one-year-old people make mistakes," he said. "He made a mistake. You made it a circus. Remember when you were 21? A human being at 21 makes mistakes. He's not a piece of property."

Winslow Sr. was asked if he expected his son to make a full recovery.

"It's a long career," he said. "I played nine years in the National Football League. Technically, I played six years -- two strikes, two major injuries and I came out OK. We look at it as a long-term career.

"You guys look at it as a moment in time and you blow it out of proportion. This Jerry Springer mentality of journalism, you guys are better than that. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Presidents make mistakes. Senators make mistakes. Journalists, if you still call yourselves that, make mistakes."

As his father was speaking in the hallway, Kellen Winslow II was inside the ballroom listening to a speech by Hall of Fame Browns running back Jim Brown.

Because Winslow II breached a "dangerous activities" clause in his contract by getting hurt while riding a motorcycle, the Browns may try to recoup some of the bonus money they have paid him.

06-05-2005, 08:56 AM

Price not right?

Peerless Price insists he wants to remain with the Falcons, but the veteran receiver acknowledged uncertainty about his future with the team.

"I want to be here," Price said. "I like playing with Mike [Vick], all my receivers, everybody on this team, guys I've formed relationships with, I've bonded with. I'd be a fool to say I don't want to be here, but whatever happens, happens."

Thursday marked the first day NFL teams could release players with multiple years on their contracts in order to gain immediate salary-cap relief. Price, scheduled to earn $2 million this season, surmised that he could be a marked man. The Falcons have been non-committal about Price's future with the team, but releasing him would force Atlanta to take a $5.7 million salary-cap hit next season because the prorated remainder of his $10 million signing bonus from 2003 would be accelerated.

Price has been a disappointment since leaving Buffalo after the 2002 season. In his two seasons in Atlanta, Price has 109 catches for 1,413 yards and six touchdowns.

"I want to be here to prove people wrong," Price said. "People don't know what I can do. They judge you off what happened in the past. They don't go back to the year before that or the year before that. It's, 'What have you done for me lately?' "

L.A. Chefs?

When handicapping the odds of which team will end up in Los Angeles, don't leave out the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs could be free agents within two years.

The Chiefs' landlord at Arrowhead Stadium, the Jackson County Sports Authority, is dangerously close to defaulting on the club's lease, which expires in 2014, because it is running out of money to maintain the stadium in "state of the art" condition as stipulated by the lease.

It's no coincidence that the stadiums in San Diego, Kansas City and New Orleans are among the oldest in the NFL, which is why teams in those cities are being mentioned as candidates to relocate to Los Angeles.

Once new stadiums are completed in Glendale, Ariz., for the Cardinals in 2006 and in Arlington for the Cowboys in 2009, 28 of the NFL's 32 teams will be playing in refurbished or newer stadiums than Arrowhead. Only stadiums in San Francisco (1960), Oakland (1966) and San Diego (1967) are older than 33-year-old Arrowhead Stadium.

Under pressure

Several NFL players are under more pressure than most to produce this season. Ten who have a little something to prove:

DE Courtney Brown, Denver: The No. 1 overall pick in 2000 missed 33 games in his five-year career with Cleveland and has only 17 career sacks.

WR Keary Colbert, Carolina: Muhsin Muhammad, who led the NFL in receiving yards, was a salary-cap casualty, leaving Colbert, who had 754 yards and five TDs as a rookie, to start.

QB Rex Grossman, Chicago: He played in three games in 2003 as a rookie and three in 2004 before both seasons ended because of major injuries.

DE Leonard Little, St. Louis: Little, who was found not guilty of drunken driving this off-season, had only seven sacks last season after a Pro Bowl season in 2003.

QB Joey Harrington, Detroit: The third overall pick in 2002 has a 54.2 career completion percentage and 67.2 rating, which is why the Lions signed Jeff Garcia.

QB Eli Manning, NY Giants: The No. 1 overall pick in 2004 had a rookie season to forget with a 48.2 completion percentage and a 55.4 rating in seven starts.

WR Charles Rogers, Detroit: The No. 2 overall pick in 2003 has played in six games, which is why the Lions drafted Roy Williams and Mike Williams the past two seasons.

S Sean Taylor, Washington: The fifth overall pick in 2004 endured a tumultuous rookie year and won't return coach Joe Gibbs' phone calls.

QB Kurt Warner, Arizona: The Cardinals gave a one-year, $4 million contract to a player who was benched by the Rams and the Giants the past two seasons.

WR Troy Williamson, Minnesota: For better or worse, the seventh overall pick in this year's draft will be considered Randy Moss' replacement.

Out pattern


Troubled WR Koren Robinson, who looked like a future star when he was a first-round pick in 2001, is on the market. Robinson, who served a drug suspension last season, was dumped by the Seahawks after a recent drunk-driving arrest. Maybe he'll wind up in Denver, where Mike Shanahan has turned into a garbage collector. (See Todd Sauerbrun, Ron Dayne, Maurice Clarett, etc.) Shanahan, who used to work for Al Davis, is turning the Broncos into the Raiders - a haven for screw ups and rejects. Maybe Shanahan can sign some of the inmates from "The Longest Yard." ... The "Border War," as Bill Parcells once called the Jets-Patriots rivalry, is a thing of the past. Coaches from both teams mingled yesterday at a Hartford- area school, where Patriots defensive coordinator Eric Mangini held his annual football camp for kids. ... Herm Edwards will hold his second annual charity golf tournament tomorrow in Locust Valley, L.I. ... Don't expect the Jets, rumored to be interested in Ty Law, to sign the former Patriots star. For one thing, it appears that CB Donnie Abraham will play this season. Secondly, the Jets aren't likely to meet Law's asking price. Best guess: He winds up with the Browns, reunited with former Pats defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel. To predict Law's landing spot, just remember what Deep Throat told Woodward in "All the President's Men": "Follow the money." … Raiders QB Rich Gannon is going to announce his retirement any minute now.



• The Dolphins have been closely studying Southern California defensive tackle Manuel Wright, who will be eligible for the supplemental draft to be held by early July (date TBA). Wright, who started two games last year on a deep USC defensive line, is considered a third- or fourth-round pick. The team that picks him would give up a choice in the same round of next year's draft. A lottery weighted in the favor of last year's weakest teams will determine draft order.

Even after adding Keith Traylor, Miami still has worries at defensive tackle. Tim Bowens is expected to retire, and Larry Chester's knee remains a big concern. At defensive end, the Dolphins are trying to restructure David Bowens' contract. Taylor likes rookie DE Matt Roth: ``He has a motor similar to myself.''

Browns agree to terms with OT Shelton


CLEVELAND (June 4, 2005) -- Former Arizona offensive tackle L.J. Shelton agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Cleveland Browns, giving the club insurance in case Ross Verba holds out for a bigger contract.

Shelton, a former first-round draft pick, was released last month by the Cardinals. The 6-foot-6, 325-pounder started 77 of 82 games over the past six seasons, mainly at left tackle for Arizona.

Last week, Verba told the Browns he wanted more money and sat out the club's voluntary passing camp in protest.

Shelton played 12 games at right tackle in 2004, making nine starts before sustaining a season-ending injury to his left knee. In 2003, he signed a five-year contract extension. However, he fell out of favor last season with coach Dennis Green and the Cardinals unsuccessfully tried to trade him before April's draft before releasing him.

06-05-2005, 09:25 AM

Price not right?

Once new stadiums are completed in Glendale, Ariz., for the Cardinals in 2006 and in Arlington for the Cowboys in 2009, 28 of the NFL's 32 teams will be playing in refurbished or newer stadiums than Arrowhead. Only stadiums in San Francisco (1960), Oakland (1966) and San Diego (1967) are older than 33-year-old Arrowhead Stadium.

I still can't believe Arizona got approved for a new Stadium and "poor old" San Diego have to deal with the City's budget crisis which hinders everything we aspire for a new stadium to be in place.

06-05-2005, 12:16 PM
I still can't believe Arizona got approved for a new Stadium and "poor old" San Diego have to deal with the City's budget crisis which hinders everything we aspire for a new stadium to be in place.

I posted some info on that subject...go here to check it out:


06-06-2005, 04:47 PM
Facing their own stadium issues, both teams could eye Los Angeles.


When it comes to Los Angeles, the NFL's first priority is picking a stadium site. But the league will have to get around to choosing a team at some point, and two franchises have emerged as the most likely candidates.

The New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers face significant political and financial obstacles in their efforts to get new stadiums, their owners emphasized at last month's league meeting in Washington. And those local conditions often become "the most relevant factors" in teams deciding to relocate, said Sportscorp Ltd. president Marc Ganis, who has consulted on several stadium projects.

Neither Saints owner Tom Benson nor Chargers president Dean Spanos wants to move. The trucks aren't even warming up. But they both want new stadium deals, and they can get out of their leases within the league's timeframe for returning to Los Angeles.

The probable return date is 2009, although NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue hasn't ruled out 2008 despite delays in the process. Tagliabue hopes the league ownership will be in position to pick a stadium site by fall.

Benson confirmed in Washington that he had received a $1billion offer for his team - published reports have indicated that bid came from someone in the L.A. area - but said he is not interested in selling at this point.

"My plan right now is to stay in New Orleans and have my granddaughter take the team over," Benson said.

He also said, when asked if he had considered other options: "You consider everything."


On Jan. 1, the Saints will have a 90-day window to get out of their lease with the Superdome. It would cost Benson $81million to exercise the escape clause.

If the Saints were to relocate to Los Angeles, their arrival date of 2006 would be 2-3 years earlier than the NFL's current projection. Under that scenario, the league could consider a temporary stadium arrangement until the new L.A. stadium is completed. Presumably, the Saints would play in the Coliseum or Rose Bowl - whichever loses in the stadium derby. Anaheim is the third site competing for the stadium project.

The general managers of the Coliseum and Rose Bowl said they would be open to having an NFL team as a temporary tenant, as unsatisfying a consolation prize as that would be.

Coliseum GM Pat Lynch said the potential revenue would be akin to "having 10 major concerts per year." Rose Bowl GM Darryl Dunn said: "We're always looking for opportunities to generate revenue and looking for big events. But obviously, our focus remains on our long-term situation."

The Pasadena City Council will vote tonight whether to continue pursuing an NFL deal.

Benson, in a rare interview at the owners meeting, did not express optimism about the Saints' future prospects in New Orleans. Benson and the cash-strapped Louisiana state government are in a protracted battle over payments owed to the team and funding for a proposed renovation of the Superdome. The local economy is poor, and season-ticket sales are down.

"That part of the country is having problems," Benson said. "It's very difficult. But it's been difficult for the 20 years I've owned the club, and we've managed it."

Benson said repeatedly he would not "do anything" regarding the team's stadium situation until after the season, adding: "I don't care if they offer me $6billion."

Tagliabue said he planned to talk to Benson and Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco to "see if they can get back on track." The league prefers that its teams try to resolve stadium issues before considering relocation. Los Angeles has served as leverage for several owners since the Raiders and Rams left after the 1994 season.


Spanos consistently has said the Chargers' priority is to remain in San Diego. But recent developments in the city have made an already-challenging effort even more difficult.

Mayor Dick Murphy resigned, and the reported front-runner to replace him, Donna Frye, is a stadium opponent. She would inherit a city in the midst of a major financial crisis.

"Right now it's not a very good situation, and I think it's going to be several ... years before it works itself out of the dilemma it's in right now," Spanos said. "Because of the uncertainty of what's going on in San Diego, nobody wants to come in as a (development) partner because the risk is too great."

The Chargers have proposed a privately financed stadium and mixed-use project for a city-owned Mission Valley site where Qualcomm Stadium currently sits. Their hope is to have a stadium measure on the ballot in November 2006.

"Even if we were to win something in '06, we wouldn't be playing in a new stadium until 2011," Spanos said. "Now you back that up three or four years (because of the city's political and financial uncertainty), you're out so far it doesn't become practical."

The Chargers' reworked lease with Qualcomm Stadium enables them to leave after the 2008 season - which would coincide with the NFL's goal for returning to Los Angeles. The Chargers would have to pay $57million to exercise the escape clause.

"The timing aligns," Sportscorp's Ganis said. "It doesn't mean there's any pre-planning here. But the timing does allow for a deal to work out."

Several other teams have undesirable stadium situations, including the Indianapolis Colts, San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs.

The Colts could have moved sooner than the others. But their stadium project is moving forward, with the Indiana General Assembly having approved a financing plan and groundbreaking tentatively scheduled for Aug.1. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels told The Indianapolis Star last week that a $48million shortfall shouldn't hold up construction.

The NFL also will consider expansion to fill the L.A. void. However, the league likes having 32 teams, and the owners wouldn't like having to share revenue with one or two more clubs.

Taylor may face 3 years


Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor could face a mandatory minimum sentence of at least three years if he is convicted on a felony charge of aggravated assault with a firearm after Miami police said he pointed a gun at two people and physically assaulted one Wednesday.
Taylor was arrested late Saturday night after he turned himself in to the Miami-Dade County Police Department. He was charged with aggravated assault with a firearm, a third-degree felony, and simple assault, a first-degree misdemeanor.

The Associated Press reported Taylor was released yesterday on a $16,500 bond, though a police official wouldn't confirm that when reached later in the day. Taylor reportedly will be arraigned at a later date.
The mandatory minimum sentence is part of a 1999 makeover of Florida's gun laws, called "10-20-Life," by Gov. Jeb Bush. To get tough on gun crime, Florida instituted mandatory minimum sentences of 10 years if a person possesses a gun while committing certain crimes, 20 years if the gun is fired and 25 years to life if someone is shot.
According to the Florida state code chapter 775.087, aggravated assault is one of 18 crimes to which the mandatory minimum sentences apply but also one of three in which the sentence is just three years at the "10" level. However, the loophole closes at the "20" level, when a gun is fired.
That could be a crucial distinction in Taylor's case. Police said Friday that they were seeking Taylor in connection with a "shooting" in southern Dade County. They said shots were fired during a dispute in a residential area but that no one was hurt.
However, a press release yesterday from the police department made no mention of whether Taylor fired any shots or whether any shots even were fired. It specifically said Taylor pointed a firearm at two victims and that no shots were fired at that time.
There was a second phase of the incident, and it is possible shots were fired at that time without being noted in the press release. An official at the police department declined to answer questions about the press release.
If Taylor indeed fired the gun during the incident, he would face a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years -- 17 more than if he did not fire the gun.
A message wasn't immediately returned from the state attorney's office to confirm the application of the "10-20-Life" law. The applicability of the law was first reported by profootballtalk.com, a Web log that focuses on NFL news.
The second charge, simple battery, carries a sentence not exceeding one year.
According to the press release, the incident began Wednesday evening when Taylor drove his blue 2005 Yukon Denali to an area in southern Dade County. He was accompanied by Charles Elwood Caughman of Baltimore and several other unidentified individuals. Some members of the group were in a second vehicle.
Taylor accused the two victims of stealing a pair of all-terrain vehicles, according to the press release. He pointed a gun at them and demanded his property be returned. No shots were fired. Taylor's group left the scene and returned about 10 minutes later. Taylor got out of the car and "physically assaulted one victim with his fists," the press release said. Caughman wielded a baseball bat as he chased the second victim. The second victim was not struck. Taylor's group then fled the scene again.
The press release noted that police hadn't determined whether the victims were involved in any theft and that Caughman was arrested and charged with aggravated assault Wednesday night.

06-06-2005, 04:54 PM
The Redskins commented briefly Saturday night to say that they were aware of Taylor's situation and were monitoring it through Taylor's representatives. Agent Drew Rosenhaus declined comment last night. Coral Gables attorney Fred Moldovan, who reportedly accompanied Taylor to the police station, did not return a call seeking comment.
Taylor has made repeated missteps off the field since Washington drafted him fifth overall in 2004. Last October he was arrested for DUI on the Capital Beltway, though he eventually was acquitted on both charges related to the incident. He also showed up late for the NFL's rookie symposium and was accused of spitting on an opponent, among other dubious moves.

Favre: ‘Maybe I will be back’ after 2005


GRAND CHUTE — For much of this offseason, Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre has been content to sit at home and work out with his personal trainer. So when Favre held an impromptu press conference in the dugout at Fox Cities Stadium after his celebrity softball game on Sunday, there were a lot of questions to answer.

When asked if he expected to play beyond next season, Favre was his usual elusive self, but he certainly seemed open to the thought of a few more seasons in a Packers uniform.

“I haven’t made any decisions. Each year has been different, especially the past three years with all the things going on,” Favre said. “I haven’t been totally committed because of some of the outside things that I’ve had to deal with. Although they’ve been big distractions for me and my family, this is still my job and I want to be totally, 100 percent committed to this team. I don’t know if I’ve been that the past two years.”

After dealing with so many off-the-field problems the last two seasons, Favre said he is looking forward to a year where football can be his primary focus.

“I’m hoping this year will go smoothly,” Favre said. “I can’t guarantee what we’ll do as a team, but I hope off the field and within my family, things go smoothly and I’m able to enjoy it a little bit more and my family will enjoy it. If that’s the case, maybe I will be back.”

The most popular topic was receiver Javon Walker, who has boycotted both offseason minicamps and is threatening to sit out the season if he is not given a new contract.

Favre surprised many when he openly criticized Walker in May during an interview with the Press-Gazette.

When Favre was asked about Walker on Sunday, he didn’t back off his previous comments.

“As the leader of this team, in some ways I have to be vocal, and I’ve always been a quiet guy when it comes to things like that,” Favre said. “I just hate to see the game going this way.”

Favre said he’s never said Walker isn’t deserving of a hefty raise, he just said he’s going about it in the wrong way. With two years left on his contract, Walker is going to have to wait for his big payday.

“As I’ve said about Javon, he’s a phenomenal player, the sky is the limit,” Favre said. “He doesn’t even realize how good he can be. I just want him in camp; it’s going to help us as a team. You know I hated that that had to come out, but I meant what I said. I won’t backtrack one bit about that.”

Favre was critical of receiver Sterling Sharpe when he held out before the 1994 season and responded similarly when defensive back Mike McKenzie held out last season. McKenzie’s holdout was a distraction during training camp and the early weeks of last season and Favre said he doesn’t want to see a repeat of that this season.

Favre said he hasn’t talked to Walker, but said he doesn’t expect the two to have any problems if and when Walker returns to the Packers.

“I said some things when Sterling held out; Sterling and I are fine,” Favre said. “Mike McKenzie, or course, I didn’t have an everyday relationship with Mike, but we were fine. I think it bothers other people more than it bothers players.

“I don’t see any reason why he’ll be bitter at me. If he is, then he’ll have to get over it. I haven’t said anything negative about Javon. He’s a tremendous player, he’s a great guy. I’ve said that and I’ll say it again. But I think the way he’s going about this is wrong. People may disagree, but that’s how I feel.”

Deanna Favre said the time away from football has made Brett more excited for the upcoming season than she has seen in some time.

“I think it was a good move, I really do,” Deanna Favre said. “He needed some time to rejuvenate, and over the past few years, a lot has happened. Staying away and focusing on family and working out has really helped. He’s really excited about coming back, more excited this year about coming back than probably the past two or three.”

Favre agreed with his wife’s assessment.

“I’ve missed the guys and I’ve missed being around and that’s kind of the whole premise of doing this,” Favre said. “I want to come into training camp ready to go, because you can get burned out. I don’t think that’s going to be the case this year. I think I’ll be ready to go.”

Favre rolled his eyes when asked about his off-season workouts with a personal trainer. While Favre does appear to be in better shape than in past years, he said too much is being made about it.

“Obviously this story has been blown out of proportion. I have been working out the trainer, yes that is true,” Favre said. “I feel better. Mentally for me I think is the biggest part of it. I’m fresh, ready to play. I’m eager to get back out there. And in the process physically I’ve been working out and it’s been going extremely well. Hopefully when training camp opens, I’ll be ready physically and mentally.”

The logic of signing draft picks
By Pat Kirwan
NFL.com Senior Analyst


06-07-2005, 04:54 PM

The Browns have given disgruntled left tackle Ross Verba permission to talk to other teams willing to trade for him.

They filed the necessary paperwork with the NFL office on Saturday, the same day L.J. Shelton signed a one-year contract, ostensibly to replace Verba.

General Manager Phil Savage said on Monday that the Browns have not formally closed the door on Verba returning to the team, but trading him would be the preference.

Chicago, Houston and Kansas City are teams still looking to upgrade their offensive lines.

In the meantime, Verba has been excused from participating in any team-related activities. He will not be fined for being absent from coach Romeo Crennel's mandatory minicamp next week, Savage said.

Verba's public comments stat- ing his displeasure with his contract situation rankled the Browns' top brass. It is fairly obvious that Verba has talked himself off the team.

The question is how long the Browns would work to try to get something in return for him. Technically, they could hold out for a trade all the way to the league deadline in October. Such a strategy would keep Verba from earning game checks for half a season.

Savage said he has been unable to reach Tom Condon, Verba's agent, to discuss the best way to terminate his Browns career.

In Shelton, the Browns get a player who is two years younger than Verba and who has started 77 NFL games, mostly at left tackle.

Shelton's conditioning reportedly got him off on the wrong foot with Arizona coach Dennis Green last year.

Savage said Shelton looked "OK," in the team's recent workout, "and obviously we'll have from now until training camp to work with him."

"L.J. came out of Eastern Michigan and was a first-rounder drafted on potential [in 1999]," Savage said. "He's experienced and has versatility. I think now that he is in a different environment, this will be a case of a change of scenery doing him good."

Shelton is expected to join his new team today for the resumption of Crennel's "passing camp" practices.

Turley is released after failing physical


Kyle Turley won't be playing offensive tackle, tight end, defensive tackle or anything else for the Rams in 2005. Turley has failed a physical exam administered in Arizona, where he had been rehabbing the back injury that cost him the entire 2004 season, and has been released.

Officially, Turley was designated as "waived - failed physical," which means the Rams owe him $250,000 but that the effect on the salary cap is the same as if he simply had been released. The "hit" is $1.82 million this year and $5.47 million in 2006.

Turley signed a six-year, $26.5 million deal with the Rams after he was acquired in a trade with New Orleans in March of 2003.

Turley, 28, underwent surgery on a herniated disc in March of 2004 after starting all 16 games at right tackle the previous season, his first with the Rams. Turley reinjured his back early in training camp last July and was placed on the injured reserve list Aug. 28.

Additional surgery was not performed, and Turley said in a recent interview with the Post-Dispatch that he had been training daily since early January at the Athletes Performance Institute in Tempe, Ariz. After dropping some 65 pounds from his playing weight, down to 235, the 6-foot-5 Turley reported that he'd added about 30 pounds and hoped to play in the NFL this year.

Still, Turley acknowledged that he probably couldn't add enough bulk to man an offensive line position this year, so he hinted that he'd be interested in a different position - perhaps tight end or defensive end.

"As far as the team goes, I don't know what their thoughts are," he said. "Obviously, they signed a contract with me to play offensive line, and they don't know what I would do at another position. So, that's probably a big question in their mind. ...

"(But) it might take another year possibly to continue putting the weight on, making it good weight, and not just going out and eating a bunch of Krispy Kreme doughnuts and burritos at 2 in the morning, to get back up to 300 pounds."

It probably never would've gotten that far with the Rams, particularly after Turley's well-publicized offseason clash with coach Mike Martz. Their rift began when Martz became irritated that Turley wasn't returning his phone calls after leaving training camp in Macomb, Ill., to seek evaluations of his back injury.

A conversation between the two in mid-December in Martz's Rams Park office escalated into a shouting match and ultimately led Martz to file a complaint with NFL security, alleging that Turley threatened him. Turley continued his criticism of March into the new year, assailing him bitterly in national interviews.

Yet he insisted only a week ago that he still was amenable to playing for Martz and the Rams.

"As far as Mike Martz and that whole story is concerned, my goal is to play football this year and worry about winning games. Outside of that, I don't have too many more things to say," Turley said. "Looking back on the whole thing, I can understand a little bit of frustration on his part, and I'm sure he can understand a little bit of frustration on my part.

"Whether or not I'm going to be on that team next year is not so much in my hands but in theirs, and there's nothing I can really do about it. So, you move on if it comes to that."

Rose Bowl out as potential site for L.A. team


PASADENA, Calif. (June 7, 2005) -- The city's bid to lure an NFL team to the Rose Bowl has ended, leaving the Los Angeles Coliseum and a parking lot in Anaheim as the lone remaining candidates interested in landing a team.

The city council voted 5-1 to pursue a plan for the Rose Bowl that doesn't involve the NFL. The vote came early June 7 after nearly seven hours of debate in front of a standing-room only crowd of about 200.

Opponents of the NFL project, including Mayor Bill Bogaard, argued that a proposed $500 million renovation of the Rose Bowl would bring too much traffic, displace park users from the Arroyo Seco and threaten the historic status of the 83-year-old stadium.

The league has been considering the Rose Bowl for nearly three years. The Los Angeles area has been without an NFL team since the Rams left for St. Louis and the Raiders returned to Oakland in 1995.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press seeking comment.

The council will now pursue a different plan to secure the financial future of the Rose Bowl, which supporters of the NFL plan claim loses $2 million a year. The city partly uses money generated by the golf course adjacent to the stadium to cover those losses.

Bogaard, who believes the $2 million figure is a gross overstatement, has said there are other ways to make the required capital improvements to the stadium, which has a contract to host UCLA football games through 2023.

Darryl Dunn, general manager of the Rose Bowl, didn't rule out future discussions with the NFL, although he said it would be up to the city council to initiate them.

"We're not proceeding with any discussion with the league, however, the door was not closed all the way," he said, noting two council members abstained from the vote.

"It's possible things may open up at some point. We hope if that did occur the NFL would want to talk to us," Dunn said.

The NFL is also considering the Los Angeles Coliseum and Anaheim, but no decision is expected before the league settles collective bargaining and revenue sharing matters.

In May, Carson dropped out of contention when city officials decided to build a mall on its proposed site.

06-07-2005, 05:15 PM

The impulse is to reach out to troubled souls like Sean Taylor -- and that's Joe Gibbs' inclination, no doubt. In fact, Coach Joe's Youth for Tomorrow home in Bristow, Va., might be just the place for Taylor. The kid could learn some important life skills there -- such as the advisability of returning the boss' phone calls.
But what does your gut tell you about Taylor? What does anybody's gut tell him? It tells him -- if we're being honest -- that Sean, as talented a safety as he is, simply isn't worth the aggravation for the Redskins. His act has gone from juvenile (blowing off part of the league's mandatory rookie symposium) to embarrassing (his difficulties reciting the alphabet when pulled over for suspected drunken driving) to defiant (boycotting voluntary offseason workouts) to, perhaps, criminal (if there's any validity to these charges in Miami that include aggravated assault with a firearm).

Yes, it's gotten scary. The Redskins' approach with him thus far -- Extreme Patience -- has borne little fruit. The club has kept giving him rope, and he's continued to construct a hangman's noose with it, one that might have room not just for his neck, but for Gibbs' and a few others' as well.
And so I say: Cut it. Cut the rope. The Redskins cut it with Laveranues Coles -- a choir boy by comparison -- so why not cut it with Taylor, too? It's after June 1; the salary cap impact wouldn't be felt until next year, when the new TV contracts kick in and teams will have more money to spend. Just ... let ... Taylor ... go. (Unless, of course, there's a team out there foolish enough to give up something for him.)
Gibbs, being a godly man, is a devout believer in forgiveness and a person's capacity for change. But some players, alas, just ain't worth it. Michael Westbrook, for instance. The Redskins went through a similar situation with Westbrook in the '90s, though his behavior wasn't nearly as extreme. They kept hoping he'd mature, develop into the Pro Bowler he was projected to be, but he never did. And now, looking back, don't you wish they'd cut their losses with him earlier -- say, as soon after the Stephen Davis Sucker-Punching as feasible?
For those who think I'm being overly harsh toward Taylor, I have just one question:
Name an NFL player in the last 25 years who's had a more turbulent first 14 months than Sean. Go ahead, take your time. (I'm still mulling it over myself.) The guy is making the Wrong Kind of Headlines at a record-shattering pace. As bizarre rookie seasons go, his ranks right up there with Joe Don Looney's. Heck, next to Sean, Randy Moss looks low maintenance.
Granted, bailing out on such a high draft pick (fifth overall) so early in his career would be unusual. But if the Redskins need any encouragement, I would refer them to the Saints, who got tired of Ricky Williams "being Ricky" and packed him off to Miami after just three seasons. Think New Orleans has ever regretted that move? Just last week, the Seahawks decided to end their baby-sitting arrangement with Koren Robinson; and, of course, the Vikings shipped Moss to the Raiders for a fraction of his "value," just to be rid of him.
There's a common thread with all three of these players, and the thread is this: There were early warning signs of trouble, the clubs tried to ride them out, but it was just no use. Knuckleheadedness, it turns out, is a difficult habit to break, worse than nail biting.
But I suspect the Redskins will give Taylor every opportunity; Gibbs' track record suggests as much. After Tony Peters missed the '83 season because of his involvement in a drug deal, he returned to play two more years for the club. Then there's Dexter Manley. His increasingly erratic behavior, which included a drug suspension, was tolerated right up through the '89 season -- at which point, then-Cardinals coach Joe Bugel, a former (and current) Gibbs lieutenant, took Dexter in.
There's a fine line, though, between extending a helping hand and being an enabler. You wonder whether Kellen Winslow Sr. wasn't being guilty of the latter when he tore into the media the other day over their coverage of his son's motorcycle follies, which will cause Young Kellen to miss the season.
"I'm disappointed in the way you guys have handled it," he said. "Twenty-one-year-old people make mistakes. He made a mistake. You made it a circus. Remember when you were 21? A human being at 21 makes mistakes. ...
"You guys look at it as a moment of time, and you blow it out of proportion. This Jerry Springer mentality of journalism, you guys are better than that. You should be ashamed of yourselves."
You'd think his son had been arrested for jaywalking, the way the Hall of Fame tight end carried on. (I'd also take issue with his charge that the media "made it a circus." Actually, it was Kellen Jr., with his death-defying motorcycle stunts, who made it a circus. We just added the well-deserved pie in the face for good measure.)
But so it goes in sports these days. You have athletes behaving badly, and you have their supporters, by the scores, lining up to defend them, to explain them, to minimize their acts. What the Redskins have to ask themselves, in the wake of this latest Sean Taylor public relations disaster, is: At what point are we perfectly within our rights to say, "Enough"? Looks to me like they're already there.

Giants Are Hoping to Grant Shockey's Wish for the Ball

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., June 6 - Four days after tight end Jeremy Shockey called on the Giants to make greater use of him as a downfield receiver, he received an endorsement from a somewhat surprising source: the coaching staff.

While defending the use of Shockey as a blocker last season, the offensive coordinator, John Hufnagel, said Monday that a priority for this season was developing more schemes to use Shockey as a vertical weapon.

"We need to get Shock more into the game," Hufnagel said at an annual spring news conference for assistant coaches. "To be a playmaker for us consistently, game in, game out. I know he's looking forward to that challenge. He wants it so bad, we just have to make sure we're doing everything we can offensively to help him."

Last week, during a three-day minicamp, Shockey pleaded with coaches to open up the offense and use him more as a receiver. Shockey said that he was less concerned with padding his statistics than helping the Giants improve a dismal offense, which ranked 26th in passing with an average of 176.1 yards a game.

Asked if he had something to prove this season, after two subpar years in which he slipped from the ranks of elite tight ends, Shockey said: "I want to win games - that's what I want to prove.

"Having good numbers and not make the playoffs - what's that going to prove? Nothing. That's what I want to prove: help this team go as far as it can go."

Hufnagel seemed to concede Monday that if the Giants were to improve on last season's 6-10 record, making more use of Shockey was essential. But Hufnagel did not discount the importance of Shockey as a blocker.

He said that because opposing defenses blitzed heavily last year - hoping to take advantage of Kurt Warner's lack of mobility and the rookie Eli Manning's lack of experience - Shockey was a key in helping the quarterbacks stay upright.

"We had to pick up the blitz somehow, someway," Hufnagel said, adding that he hoped the third-year tight end Visanthe Shiancoe could help more with blocking duties this season to free up Shockey.

Mike Pope, the tight ends coach, said that he hoped that Shockey could get the ball more often this season, but that a factor in his performance last year was how defenders handcuffed him in pass coverage. Pope said teams would often bracket Shockey with a linebacker or defensive back in man coverage with another defender helping.

"There were an enormous number of plays that were called where he would be the first or second part of the read," Pope said. "The defense has a lot to do with whether you can get the ball to someone."

Pope also said that Shockey - who had 61 receptions last season, including 6 for touchdowns - might have been hampered by missing practice time at last year's training camp while he recovered from foot surgery. At a time when he should have been building a rapport with Warner, Shockey missed as many as 35 one-on-one passing practices, Pope said.

Though he wants more passes, Shockey understands that he will still often be called upon as a blocker, particularly in pass protection, Pope said.

"This is a blitzaholic league right now," said Pope, who added, "You can't release everybody and have the poor quarterback fend for himself."

06-07-2005, 05:20 PM
I feel bad for Taylor. Watching him in college, he reminded me of Rodney. I hope he gets his head on straight, and gets going in the right direction. He is a big hitter, and he's a playmaker. He has great tackling ability ala Rodney, but he isn't quite on Ed Reed's level yet on pass coverage. If he improves in that area, watch out becase he'll be a force on every play that he's on the field.

06-08-2005, 07:35 PM

Ross Verba will be released by the Browns today when he agrees to repay a $465,000 roster bonus to the club.

That option was presented to Verba and agent Tom Condon in a letter last weekend. Verba also can seek a team willing to trade for him, but that option is riddled with obstacles.

A source close to Verba said Tuesday that Verba would give back the roster bonus to gain his freedom. He wants a contract better than the one that pays him $2.9 million in 2005 and 2006. Verba's exit was in the works after he told owner Randy Lerner he wanted out of Cleveland.

The Browns, who prepared for a move by Verba on Saturday by signing veteran left tackle L.J. Shelton, added Marcus Spears on Tuesday. The $465,000 bonus repaid by Verba will almost cover Spears' salary for 2005.

Spears, an 11-year NFL veteran, played 16 games last season with Houston, starting three at right tackle. He was a second-round draft pick of the Bears in 1994.

Spears also played seven seasons with Kansas City. His most productive year was 2001 when he made 16 starts (11 at right tackle and five at left guard), helping running back Priest Holmes lead the NFL with 1,555 yards rushing. Spears has made 21 starts in 104 career games.

Each of Spears' former teams are in the market for offensive line help, and each may show interest in Verba when he is released. Other interested teams may include Arizona, San Francisco, Buffalo and Tampa Bay.

To make room for Shelton and Spears, the Browns released defensive backs James Boyd and Jamall Johnson.

Jaguars deny Alexander report


The Jaguars scoffed at a report by The NFL Network that they had discussed a trade with Seattle for disgruntled running back Shaun Alexander but had balked at the Seahawks' demand for a third-round pick.

"It's a bunch of nonsense,'' Jaguars pro personnel director Charlie Bailey said. "Where do these things get started?''

Where's D-Jack?


Seahawks wide receiver Darrell Jackson's absence from minicamp is even more glaring in light of the release of Koren Robinson, since the two were starters at flanker and split end for much of last season.

Jackson is not in camp because he says the team has not honored what seems to be a financial promise made by former team president Bob Whitsitt. Both sides are calling it a matter of principle but are trying to resolve the issue.

After talking to Jackson, Holmgren said Monday he remains hopeful that Jackson will report before this voluntary minicamp ends June 16, but that doesn't seem likely.

One of Jackson's agents, Brian Mooney, said the receiver will arrive for training camp on time next month, ready to work. The agent also said Jackson will honor any public-appearance clauses that are written into the six-year, $25 million contract Jackson signed last offseason.

Hasselbeck wondered aloud when asked what it was like not having offensive starters in camp.

"I guess I really just don't understand where someone could be coming from when they don't want to be here," Hasselbeck said. "It's not that hard. It's actually fun. ... I wouldn't say frustration. I just totally have no idea of that mentality.

"It escapes me completely, but hey, it's OK, we're still a team, and you have to do the best you can."

Trying to go beyond 49? Colts boldly take aim
Manning, offense want to surpass record TD total


Any chance Peyton Manning would allow even a shred of complacency to slip in after fashioning the greatest season by a quarterback in NFL history vanished during an early-morning March film session with Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Tom Moore and quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell.

The tape, one of more than a dozen "cut-ups" designed to review Manning's 2004 season and lay the groundwork for '05, consisted not of his league-record 49 touchdowns, but of the missed opportunities.

"We counted 17 legitimate misses," Manning said, smiling sheepishly. "You say we threw a lot of touchdowns, but we should have thrown even more."


Well, at least more than 49.

Tight end Marcus Pollard dropped a no-doubt touchdown against Tennessee. Brandon Stokley muffed one against Oakland and, while running alone through the heart of Green Bay's secondary, saw a potential 72-yard touchdown ricochet off his facemask. In a loss at Kansas City, Manning passed for five touchdowns but could have had eight; three times in the first half he overthrew a wide-open Marvin Harrison.

"Let's be realistic," Moore said. "You're always going to leave some (touchdowns) on the field. But why can't we be better? We've got to be better."

That has been the explicit theme as Manning, Moore and Caldwell have met at 7:15 so many mornings during the offseason. Yes, 2004 was a fantasy football fan's wildest dream. The 49 touchdown passes. The 121.1 passer rating, another single-season NFL record. That eight-game stretch during which Manning passed for at least three touchdowns, including five consecutive games with at least four.

Manning conceded the Colts set the bar for passing excellence "pretty high" in 2004, and that exceeding it and satisfying a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately? public will be a major challenge.

"I'm getting that a little bit in airports," Manning said. "You know, 'How many you going to throw (in '05)?' You can tell in their tone of voice if you don't throw over 50, it's going to be (a disappointment)."

There's more

06-09-2005, 05:15 PM
Shawn Merriman, Poston's take note-You may learn something !


CINCINNATI | Wide receiver Chad Johnson has a simple message for Bengals fans panicking over his hiring of high-profile agent Drew Rosenhaus this offseason — relax.

Unlike Philadelphia superstar Terrell Owens, a prized Rosenhaus client who is demanding more money, Johnson promised on Wednesday that he won't stage a holdout.

He promised to be in uniform when training camp kicks off at Georgetown College on July 29 and promised to fulfill the $25 million contract extension he signed in 2003 that will keep him in Cincinnati through 2009.

"My agent doesn't run me. I run myself. He works for me," Johnson said after practice at Paul Brown Stadium. "If there was any type of holdout going on, it would be going on right now. That's all the security you need to know — (number) 85 ain't going nowhere. I'm kinda upset that Oprah's not calling me, but I'm here."

Riding the wave of three straight 1,000-yard seasons (1,166; 1,355; and 1,274) and two straight Pro Bowls, Johnson would love it if management tore up his contract and gave him a new deal. Even Rosenhaus called Johnson sorely underpaid. But Johnson isn't going to turn his back on the team.

"My play on the grass is going to take care of my pockets," Johnson said. "Anyone who's paid in the high bracket of making money should be playing at a high level, like I play. I really don't have time to focus on the money issue. As I said, my play will take care of itself. They'll (management) bless me upstairs if it's meant to be. If not, I'll just keep on doing what I do."

Johnson said he hired Rosenhaus to help boost his off-the-field exposure and offseason income in the form of endorsements. Johnson has deals with Reebok and Players Inc., and has made numerous appearances on the NFL Network, ESPN and other major networks.

"Everyone's misunderstanding the change in agents for me," Johnson said. "It's not (about) the money during the season. It's what my value is and what I can make when football's not going on. I'm trying to have income consistently for six months when there's no football being thrown.

"All (the endorsements) are generating income. That's the whole point. (Rosenhaus) has the backbone to do that down in Miami. He's networking and known throughout the states, so it's helped me a lot.

"It's not only helping me be able to help my family, but it's also good for us as an organization because it's putting us out there. I'm representing us to the utmost anytime I do anything because I'm always winning."

Injury report

Tailback Chris Perry, who is recovering from two hernia surgeries, will likely miss the mandatory, full-squad minicamp set for June 17-19.

"He's not been cleared yet," head coach Marvin Lewis said. "We're not going to clear a guy until we know he can handle the practice to practice activity."

Wide receiver Peter Warrick and linebackers Landon Johnson, Caleb Miller and Khalid Abdullah will probably join Perry on the sidelines.

"They're questionable right now and they're not likely (to participate)," Lewis said.

Tempers flare

The sweltering heat got the best of veteran left offensive tackle Levi Jones and rookie outside linebacker David Pollack, who got involved in a shoving match during a late-practice drill. Jones engaged Pollack on a downfield block, and Pollack fought back.

"It's football, man," Pollack said. "That's what happens. You're going to get in some little scuffles. The competitive nature takes over."

Patriots set for learning experience


FOXBOROUGH -- They've been in and out of Gillette Stadium, lifting weights and running on a posted schedule as part of a ''voluntary" workout program.

But today, the Patriots gather on the field for the first time since winning the Super Bowl, in what should be the closest thing to real football until training camp begins the last week of July.

Close to real football, but not real football.

The players hit the field for three days of practice (closed to the public) this morning for what coach Bill Belichick describes as a teaching camp.

''This is not an evaluation camp," Belichick said. ''There's no emphasis on timing and execution, mostly on teaching. We have a long way to go before we have to play."

Through much of a whirlwind offseason, Belichick and the Patriots' front office have been running a two-minute offense in an effort to get even with teams that didn't play in February.

Belichick said he felt as if he had to cram to get ready for the free agent signing period and the April draft, which he described as a final exam that he didn't have enough time to study for.

''This is like a new semester," he said. ''I feel like we're finally getting caught up. We're finally up with everybody else in the league. Going into the draft, you feel like you're weeks behind. Now it's more of a level playing field. They have their rookies, we have ours. We have our schedule, they have theirs. Now we're all able to work on each other."

This weekend is also another step in working in new faces and new responsibilities, from Tom Brady getting accustomed to throwing to free agent signees David Terrell and Tim Dwight, to returning wideouts David Givens and Deion Branch getting a feel for how Doug Flutie throws the ball.

Former defensive backs coach Eric Mangini said he doesn't anticipate difficulty in making the transition to being in charge of the entire defense.

''I'm looking forward to it," said Mangini, who took over from Romeo Crennel. ''Hopefully I'll bring the same things to the table as Romeo and we'll continue to do what we've done. It's about the team, not me."

Tedy Bruschi, recovering from a stroke suffered in February, isn't likely to participate this weekend, but defensive newcomers Chad Brown, Monty Beisel, Duane Starks, and Chad Scott will get a taste of where they will fit into one of the league's top defenses.

As was the case in their passing camp a couple of weeks ago, the Patriots will go over schemes and technique during minicamp to help indoctrinate newcomers to the system.

''We have a number of veterans who've been through it, but how they'll adapt to our system and fit in with our players remains to be seen," Belichick said. ''You have quarterbacks working with new receivers, linemen with new players, there's a process in getting comfortable. In a way, you go through it every year."

This year the Patriots are going through it minus the offensive and defensive coordinators who helped them win three championships. Players have mentioned they noticed a difference in not having Charlie Weis and Crennel on the practice field during the passing camp.

Belichick admits to noticing it as well, but doesn't see that as unusual.

''There's always going to be change," Belichick said. ''Whether it's on the coaching staff or the roster. Every year, you start something new. That's a part of it."

Second-year tight end Joel Jacobs won't attend minicamp, as he is with the Berlin Thunder, who play in the NFL Europe World Bowl Saturday. Running back Kory Chapman, linebacker Grant Steen, and receiver Cedric James, who also played in Europe this spring, are expected to be at Gillette today.

Belichick doesn't foresee notable additions or subtractions from the roster between now and the opening of training camp, but he likes the team's salary cap position, should an opportunity to add a player present itself.

''It's like a household budget; you could always have an emergency," Belichick said. ''It's difficult because something could always come up. You never know how much you're going to need going into a season, because somebody could get hurt -- will get hurt -- and you have to get somebody. You have to budget a cushion and I believe we're OK on that."

Belichick would not comment on possible contract negotiations with defensive lineman Richard Seymour, who has two years remaining on his contract and is in line for a sizable raise if and when his contract is extended. But the coach, who is in his sixth year with the Patriots, said he was not overly concerned about players such as kicker Adam Vinatieri and Givens, who could enter the season with one-year deals if new contracts aren't agreed to.

''We've all been there," Belichick said. ''Some guys are in their first year, some guys are in their last year, and some guys are in the middle. That's just how a team is set up. That's how it works."

06-09-2005, 05:26 PM

DAVIE -- The Dolphins were 1-7 last season when injured linebacker Junior Seau gave an emotionally charged speech on the Wednesday before Game 9, imploring them to stick together.

Although they lost 24-23 to the Arizona Cardinals that Sunday, the Dolphins closed 3-5 and remained unified under the leadership of interim coach Jim Bates and players such as Seau, who ended up missing the final six games after surgery on a torn muscle in his chest.

That's part of the reason that, for the second consecutive season, teammates awarded Seau the newly named Don Shula Leadership Award at their Kickoff Banquet on Wednesday night.

"The best thing that I can say about that is you're not voted for what you do on the field, it's what you do every day," said Seau, 36, a 12-time Pro Bowl selection. "To be consistent at what you do, whether it's in the film room, whether it's on the field, whether it's in the weight room.

"These players in this locker room, they hear, they see and they could feel what you do. So therefore, me being gone half of the year, the impact was obviously made before then."

Seau on Saban

Seau was asked to assess new coach Nick Saban's leadership skills.

"Nick Saban has no gray area," he said. "He's going to treat everyone the same.

"He expects everyone to come out here and work. And if you don't want to work, you're going to be out of here. It's as simple as that."

On Ricky

While none of the five players made available to the media Wednesday wanted to comment on the possible return of running back Ricky Williams, Seau offered a telling remark.

"The game was taken away from me half of the year last year, and if you really love the game, you will embrace it," Seau said.

"But it's hard to love a game that you have to run into a wall that's 360 pounds, 6-foot-8, for 60 plays every Sunday.

"It's not made for everyone. It's not," Seau said.

"For me, I could never walk away. You're going to have to kick me out. I might even go deep-snap."

After he retired in July, Williams complained about the pounding he had endured while carrying the ball a franchise-record 392 times in 2003.

Police Probe Other Events Surrounding Taylor's Arrest


While Miami-Dade County police have completed their criminal investigation into Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor , they are continuing to investigate other events that occurred last Wednesday night in conjunction with Taylor's arrest on felony assault charges. A police source said yesterday that no more arrests are anticipated at this time. Taylor is not a subject in this ongoing investigation.

Last Friday police sources told The Post that the department was investigating a shooting related to Taylor's case in which shots were fired into a stolen vehicle. No arrests were made in the alleged shooting, and Taylor has not been accused of firing the weapon he carried to the scene of his incident. Police spokesmen have reiterated that, to their knowledge, shots were not fired at any individuals and no one was injured.

Should Taylor be found guilty of any of the criminal charges he faces, and thus violate the NFL's personal conduct policy, the Redskins could reclaim a significant portion of the bonuses that make up the bulk of his six-year contract -- worth a maximum of $40 million.

If Taylor were to default on his contract by missing any mandatory practices or games due to his legal problems -- a scenario likely only if he was convicted -- he would "relinquish his right to future bonuses," according to a source with direct access to his full contract. Taylor is scheduled to receive $13.045 million in bonuses over the first three years of the contract, which was signed last year.

If he were to default on his contract in 2005, the Redskins would be eligible to reclaim $6 million of his $7.2 million signing bonus, according to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The same contractual language applies to Taylor's option bonuses, worth a total of $4.475 million ($3.3 million of which is payable next April). So, if Taylor's arrest were to cause him to miss mandatory work, and the Redskins opted to take this course of action -- which is hardly assured and something the team would not likely consider until after the legal process was complete -- he could end up having to return more than $10 million in 2005.

Pennington yet to throw


Chad Pennington still is on schedule to test his surgically repaired shoulder by the end of the month, but the Jets' quarterback missed his last chance yesterday to throw in an official practice before training camp.
The Jets wrapped up their offseason program, which included three weeks of practices, and Pennington didn't participate in any of the sessions, according to a team spokesman. The practices were closed to the media.

That Pennington didn't throw isn't necessarily a setback. Even though Herm Edwards indicated at the post-draft minicamp in late April that there was a possibility of Pennington throwing in the June OTAs (organized team activities), the coach never gave a specific return date, saying it would be "some time in June."

Edwards still has three weeks to be proved right. Through a team spokesman, he confirmed that he expects his $64million quarterback to start throwing before July 1. With the team scattered until training camp, which opens July 29, Pennington will have to resume throwing in informal workouts at Hofstra, not organized drills.

Pennington, four months removed from surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder, said at the last minicamp that he expects to have a "normal" training camp. Chances are, his workload will be scaled back. He also said there's "no doubt" he will be ready for the opener, Sept. 11 in Kansas City.

At the time of the surgery, doctors said it would be three to four months before Pennington could resume throwing.

06-09-2005, 07:05 PM
This is the first installment in a five-part series entitled “Revenue-sharing 101,” which will address the issues confronting the NFL's small-market and large-market teams in their attempts to adopt a new business model. Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver comments in Part I.


Wayne Weaver is promoting a proposal he and Steelers owner Dan Rooney made at the recent NFL owners meetings as being a solution to the problem of an ever-widening revenue gap between the league's small-market and large-market teams.

It's known as the “Jacksonville-Pittsburgh plan” and it's based on sharing of all local revenues. According to Weaver's and Rooney's proposal, 34 percent of all local revenues would be put into a pool and divided evenly among the league's 32 teams.

“I've been very outspoken about this at the league meetings. It was a good fit for the two of us to take the lead. We're a small market; (the Steelers) are a middle market,” Weaver said of the plan.

The NFL has long operated with a “pool the revenue” concept, though some revenues were designated “unshared.” The league modified that concept in 2002, and now more dramatic changes may be required if small-market and large-market teams are to continue to compete on a level playing field.

Previous to the '02 season, the home team would give the visiting team a 34 percent share of the gate. As of '02, 34 percent of the gate receipts from each game were put into a pool and distributed 32 ways. Now, Weaver and Rooney have created a plan that applies the 34 percent idea to all local revenue.

The “Jacksonville-Pittsburgh plan” would put all local revenue, including such unshared monies as luxury suites, stadium naming rights and sponsorship into a 32-team pool. It's a formula intended to ease a revenue disparity between small-market and large-market teams that has reached the point of alarm.

“Does it have a chance? Absolutely it has a chance,” Weaver said of his and Rooney's proposal. “It's the only rational long-term commitment, or we become baseball or the other sports leagues.”

Large-market teams such as Washington, Dallas and Houston, of course, are obvious opponents to such a strategy. Those three teams would say that if you're going to share my revenue, you should also have to share my debt. Purchase prices, franchise fees and new stadiums are driving those teams' debts and they argue that they need their local revenues to address those debts.

The small-market concern is that the revenues generated by the large-market teams will drive up the salary cap to a level beyond the small-market teams' capabilities. Simply put, the competitive balance the league has always enjoyed between small-market and large-market teams will be at risk if the small-market teams can't afford to spend to the level of the cap.

“It's a small-margin business and all of the margins reside with the top teams in the league,” Weaver said. “What (the Jacksonville-Pittsburgh plan) does is re-distribute revenue to teams in small markets who have lower revenues.”

In the Jaguars' inaugural season, 1995, the difference in revenue between the top revenue team in the league and the bottom revenue team in the league was $28 million. In 2005, that difference will be about $140 million.

Each team will spend about $103 million on player salaries and benefits this year, leaving the low-revenue teams in danger of operating at a deficit. The Jaguars are in the bottom third of the league's revenue rankings.

“In the early years, our TV revenue covered our player costs,” Weaver said.

The owners almost have to come to a revenue-sharing agreement before the league can move forward on a Collective Bargaining Agreement with the players union. The players union is also pursuing a new business model for its next agreement, and it's likely the players will be successful in that attempt.

In 2005, according to the current CBA, the players will receive 65.5 percent of the league's “Defined Gross Revenue.” Those revenues do not include monies from luxury-suite licenses and local sponsorship, to name two categories.

The current CBA runs through 2007, but '07 is scheduled to be an uncapped year and that means a new CBA needs to be in place by then. Should the league not have a new CBA by the '07 season, the salary cap system the league has enjoyed since 1993 will be at risk.

A new CBA is expected to be based on a “Total Football Revenues” model in which the players would share in all of the league and individual team gross revenues. Speculation is the players would receive 59 percent of “TFR.” In 2005, the NFL is projected to be a $5.6 billion business.

“It's critical,” Weaver said of the need for an agreement among owners on a revenue-sharing plan. “The problem now is it's beginning to get so acrimonious that it's pitting partner against partner.”

And that's not the formula that made the NFL the most successful pro sports league in the world.

It's 50-50 whether T.O. will show
Agent Drew Rosenhaus said a reworked deal will get Owens to camp. The Birds still aren't budging


Agent Drew Rosenhaus put the odds at 50-50 last night that Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens would join his teammates at training camp Aug. 1, when veterans are expected to report.

"I'm saying this based on the fact that I have confidence in the Philadelphia Eagles organization that they are going to work with me in a capacity that will be satisfactory," Rosenhaus said during an interview with Washington Post columnists Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser on ESPN's Pardon The Interruption.

Rosenhaus' qualifier: "If they don't, then I wouldn't be very optimistic about him being there."

In response, Eagles president Joe Banner neither blinked nor budged on the team's stance.

"There's nothing for us to really do," Banner said. "There's nothing to figure out. You can write about this as often as you want, but in the end, Terrell Owens has to decide whether he wants to play or he doesn't want to play. Either way, we're going to be a very good team that we believe is capable of achieving our goals. We'd rather have him honor his contract and be here, but that's up to him."

The Eagles have refused to discuss the matter with Rosenhaus, who replaced David Joseph as Owens' agent in early April and visited Philadelphia for a brief meeting with Banner.

In the television interview, Rosenhaus tried to make the case that there is nothing honorable about the seven-year deal - worth just under $49 million - Owens signed after a sequence of bizarre events led to a three-team trade before last season. That deal sent the star receiver from the Baltimore Ravens to the Eagles.

Rosenhaus did not return phone calls last night.

"Terrell Owens was supposed to be a free agent with the San Francisco 49ers," Rosenhaus said in the television interview. "He did not become a free agent. He had a problem with his previous agent. He was therefore traded to the Baltimore Ravens, a team he did not want to play for.

"The [players'] union stepped in and gave him an opportunity to get out of the trade and go to Philadelphia for a contract that was not really what he was looking for. It was certainly substandard. Every NFL executive, if you ask him objectively, would tell you that was not a fair deal."

According to an Eagles source, it was Owens, not Joseph, who insisted that the seven-year contract be structured in such a way that the wide receiver had to prove his value on an annual basis.

"He said, 'I want the deal structured so you don't have to worry about trusting me,' " the source said.

Rosenhaus has said Owens' bargaining power was damaged because he never became a free agent. A league source said it was strongly believed Owens would have become a free agent if he had allowed Penn professor Stephen Burbank to make his special master ruling on the case in March 2004.

"[Union chief] Gene Upshaw told him that," the source said.

Owens, at the time, insisted he only wanted to play for the Eagles and with his good friend, quarterback Donovan McNabb. Those were the good old days. Now, Owens is disgruntled. And the relationship between Owens and McNabb has taken a huge hit this off-season, an issue that Rosenhaus was asked about on PTI.

"What goes on between those two players is really between them," Rosenhaus said. "But what I will share with you is that I do think their relationship is a lot better than most people think.

"But they are professionals and if they are teammates again, they will absolutely work well together."

Rosenhaus said Owens also deserved an improved contract based on his performance last season.

The agent continued to insist that Owens is not involved in a holdout, but the Eagles disagreed based on his failure to show up at the team's mandatory post-draft minicamp last month.

"That's completely false," an Eagles source said. "It was a mandatory camp. He breached his contract."

Rosenhaus said if the Eagles guaranteed the life of Owens' contract, his client would gladly end this dispute.

"If the Eagles will honor that contract, so will Terrell," Rosenhaus said. "What I mean by that is, if they said to me that they would pay that entire amount over the life of that contract, we'll guarantee it, then we'll honor it. The problem is, they don't have to. I have players every day like Hugh Douglas or Nate Webster who do five- and six-year deals and either they get hurt or they don't play as well and a year later, the team says forget about those last four or five years. They're underperforming.

06-10-2005, 04:44 PM

Left tackle Ross Verba walked into the Browns' facility on Thursday morning, returned a bonus check for $465,000, said goodbye to his teammates and was promptly released.

Before he left, he even got a chance to wish good luck to his replacement, L.J. Shelton, who was introduced Thursday afternoon as the Browns' new starting left tackle.

Talk about not letting the door hit you on the way out.

"The deed is done," said Verba. "Now I'm free to sign with any team. It's over."

Verba, 31, is the top offensive tackle on the open market and is free to sign with anyone. He said his agent, Tom Condon, told him that 10 teams have already called to express interest. He wouldn't reveal which ones, but did name a few he'd like to play for.

"I'm interested mostly in the teams that need tackles," he said. "I'd like to play for San Diego , Houston, Buffalo, Chicago, Kansas City, San Francisco, someone like that."

He said he'll start making visits next week. But those with little cash to spare need not apply.

"I'm telling teams, 'If you're not willing to give me a big multiyear contract, don't even bring me in," he said.

How big? "$35 million," said Verba. "If I don't get what I want, I'll walk away from the game and hold my head up high."

He said his teammates were disappointed to see him go.

Story is 3 pages long

Chiefs may be near to signing receiver Hakim
Former St. Louis Ram has impressed Vermeil


The Chiefs took a step closer to landing a free-agent receiver Thursday, and it appears as if Freddie Mitchell isn’t a part of their plans.

Coach Dick Vermeil said the Chiefs are communicating with Az-Zahir Hakim’s agent, and “when they’re talking, you’re going in the right direction.”

Hakim and Mitchell came to Kansas City this week for workouts. Just before Hakim met with the coaches Tuesday, Vermeil suggested that they might sign both receivers if they went for the league minimum.

Asked Thursday whether Mitchell was still in the mix, Vermeil said, “No, I think we’ll just do one, though I’d like to have them both. Plus, we have enough receivers, I think, of quality, and some young kids keep getting better, too.”

The Chiefs cut veteran receiver Johnnie Morton last week and have been bargain shopping for a possible replacement to play opposite Eddie Kennison. Vermeil said second-year players Samie Parker and Richard Smith have been impressive in practice, but he’s also been intrigued with Hakim, who played on his 1999 Super Bowl champion team in St. Louis.

For much of the week, Vermeil has gushed over Hakim, who stands 5 feet 10 and is similar in stature to Parker. Hakim was cut by Detroit in April, shortly after the Lions drafted Mike Williams.

“I think we’ll have to wait and see what he is today compared to what he was,” Vermeil said. “It’s like your mom’s chocolate cake. It used to be a lot better then than when you taste it 20 years later.

“I think he’s still the football player he’s always been. He’d be very competitive to start, and very competitive to play at any time.”

Phil Sheridan | Westbrook is the player who deserves better deal


Terrell Owens.

There, now that we got that out of the way, let's talk about the one unhappy camper the Eagles really should be committed to taking care of: Brian Westbrook.

The running back was at the NovaCare Complex these last two weeks, taking part in meetings and practices. He was not weeping. He was not inviting journalists to his personal charity event and then paying a public relations person to insult their professionalism. His agent was not going on ESPN talk shows to defend an ultimately indefensible position.

Westbrook's new agent, Fletcher Smith, was on the second floor of the Eagles' complex yesterday. Smith was having a sit-down with club president Joe Banner that presumably lasted more than the five minutes Banner allotted Owens' agent, Drew Rosenhaus.

Why? Because Westbrook has a case. Because Westbrook deserves a long-term contract commensurate with his value to this football team.

Owens already has one, which is what makes this entire caper so decadent and dumb. He may not like getting paid what he's worth, but he is. (Bear in mind, he hurt his market value by acting like a public nuisance for five years.)

While Owens was banking nearly $10 million last year, Westbrook was making less than backs such as Josh Scobey and Heath Evans. Playing out the original three-year deal he signed as a third-round pick, Westbrook was one of the great bargains in the NFL.

That's not a slam at the Eagles. They drafted him out of Villanova when plenty of other teams thought he was too small or balked at his history of injuries. It was Andy Reid who found creative ways to deploy Westbrook and take advantage of his considerable skills. That's the system working well on both ends: smart personnel move, good coaching, excellent performance by the player.

The Eagles have taken care of other starters from Westbrook's draft class. Cornerbacks Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown are playing on their second contracts. They're good young players at a premium position, and they have also benefited from good coaching and being in a successful system.

Westbrook skipped the Eagles' mandatory minicamp last month. He said Reid contacted him.

"He said there's a better chance to get things done if I'm here," Westbrook said. "We'll see what happens."

It isn't easy to put a value on a back like Westbrook. His predecessor, Duce Staley, was always frustrated by the way Reid's offense limited him and skewed his statistics. Running backs like to run and they like 100-yard games and 1,000-yard seasons. It's in their DNA. It's also how they measure their worth when it's time to negotiate.

"I feel I easily could have gotten 1,000 yards last year if I played in every game," Westbrook said.

Instead, Reid held him out of the final two regular-season games. That was an undeniable sign that the coach counted Westbrook among the team's most important players, along with Donovan McNabb. And the coach was right about that.

There's no way around it. When Westbrook plays, the Eagles are better. Their offense is more dynamic and tougher to defend against. And this isn't a case of merely rewarding a player for past performance. Just 25, Westbrook figures to be in his prime through the life of a five- or six-year contract.

But the entire offense is based on the word multiple: multiple formations, multiple personnel groups, multiple everything. Westbrook is not going to be a 25-carries-per-game back in this offense. He's going to be a role player, even if his role is second only to McNabb's in importance.

The system-first Eagles believe they could plug another player into Westbrook's spot and continue to win. Their history says they're probably right. It's hard now to remember the passions stirred by the prospect of Staley's departure, because the Eagles rolled right along.

The better question, though, is whether the Eagles would be as good. The answer is no. They continued winning after Jeremiah Trotter left a few years ago, but there's no question the team was diminished by the middle linebacker's absence. Trotter, in turn, was diminished during his two-year exile in Washington (well, except for his bank account).

You'd like to think everyone involved here has learned the lessons of the recent past. If so, Westbrook will have a new deal before training camp.

If nothing else, the Eagles have an opportunity to make a statement that will serve them well in future situations like this. If they are going to stand firm against Owens and his agent, and they should, it makes sense to reward Westbrook for going about his business the right way.

And now, back to the T.O Watch, already in progress.

06-10-2005, 05:08 PM
Season hasn't started, and Moss is already running his mouth


Randy Moss says his new quarterback with the Oakland Raiders, Kerry Collins, is better overall than his former quarterback, Daunte Culpepper of the Vikings.

Moss, traded by the Vikings to the Raiders this spring, said so during an ESPN "SportsCenter'' interview.

"When it comes to athleticism, Daunte has Kerry beat by a large margin," the controversial wide receiver said. "But Kerry has pocket presence and knows how to read defenses. So Kerry has a slight step over Daunte."

Morgan hurts shoulder in Cowboys' practice


IRVING - Cowboys receiver Quincy Morgan injured his left shoulder during practice last week and is in the midst of a vigorous rehab program in hopes of being ready in time for training camp.

Eric Armstead, director of player development for EO Sports Management, the Houston-based agency owned by Morgan's agent, Brian Overstreet, wouldn't go into details about the injury. But he said surgery was not necessary for what he termed "a strain."

"He is doing fine," Armstead said. "He will be ready."

The situation is acute for the Cowboys because they passed on taking a receiver in April's NFL Draft and hope several returning players improve their performances behind starters Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn.

Morgan, who struggled with consistency last season after coming over from Cleveland in a trade for Antonio Bryant, is chief among the players from whom the Cowboys want improvement. The former Kansas State star seemed to be making strides with an impressive off-season; he caught the attention of coach Bill Parcells during the June minicamp.

"He really did a good job of getting into our off-season program here," Parcells said. "He did a good job of improving his strength and his body type a little bit, and I think it is showing up on the field here."

Morgan played nine games with the Cowboys in 2004, catching 22 passes for 260 yards and no touchdowns. He underwent surgery in January to remove a bone growth in his left knee.

The Cowboys report for training camp July 28 in Oxnard, Calif.

Mixed signals at QB position


FOXBORO - Rohan Davey is going into his fourth season with the Patriots [stats, news] and Doug Flutie has been on the team for about a month. But as far as Bill Belichick [news] is concerned, the players are on equal footing when it comes to the backup quarterback position.

``We'll play the best players,'' said Belichick. ``I don't know who they are.''

The fact that Belichick won't give Davey the edge despite his experience in the system is not a good sign for the four-year veteran.

However, Davey typically followed Tom Brady [news] with the second team in minicamp yesterday, and while he had some characteristic bouts of inconsistency with his accuracy, the offense at least ran smoothly from a communication standpoint.

The same could not be said for Flutie, who clearly seemed to have some lapses in his knowledge of the playbook in some drills. Belichick acknowledged that Flutie has had to adjust to a new system.

``Doug has a lot of experience and played in a lot of systems,'' said Belichick. ``I think ours has a lot of similarities to some others he's played in, yet there are still some nuances that he's had to adjust to. He's definitely picking it up and working through it, like a lot of new players are.''

Meanwhile, Brady looked sharp from the outset, hitting receivers in stride on most of his short and mid-range throws. Brady was also typically vocal. With no offensive coordinator on the field, Belichick is running the full show. When the teams split, assistants like Brian Daboll (receivers) and Pete Mangurian (tight ends) led some units while Brady seemed to be in charge of his.

Early line: Don't bet on Redskins


The Las Vegas early line says to bet against the Washington Redskins this season, especially on the road. The Redskins are underdogs in 11 of 16 games, including every road contest.
The Plaza Hotel and Casino this week became the first Nevada sports book to post spreads on every game through Super Bowl XL (AFC minus-4). Plaza race and sports book director Lou D'Amico said he's ?an old Redskins fan from the Sonny Jurgensen era? but didn't like Washington too often.
The Redskins are favored at home over Chicago, San Francisco, Oakland, Dallas and the New York Giants. Otherwise, the smart money is on their opponents.
Notice the Bolts didn't make that list

However, Washington backers quickly moved the line a half-point on the Dallas game Sept. 19, making the Cowboys 31/2-point favorites instead of four in the Monday nighter. It seems the rivalry is felt in Las Vegas, too.
?The Redskins-Cowboys game still has that mystique to it,? D'Amico said. ?I remember when I was a kid. it was such a rivalry. It still is, maybe not as strong, but it's still there.?
D'Amico also has Washington 50-1 to win the Super Bowl, while Dallas is 35-1.
The future lines were created to attract summer tourists who seldom return during football season. Last year, one Atlanta fan bet $500 on every Falcons game. Winning bettors can mail their tickets to the Plaza for redemption.
?There's really no advantage of the customers versus the bookmakers,? D'Amico said. ?The [professionals] are not going to look at weeks 13, 14, 15 unless [Indianapolis quarterback] Peyton Manning goes down in week 1 or 2.?

Big Poppa
06-10-2005, 11:44 PM
But thats Moss you take the good with the bad.

06-11-2005, 06:48 AM
Moss will have an attitude with a crappy QB like collins, who is inconsistant.

06-11-2005, 11:03 AM
But thats Moss you take the good with the bad.

Fair enough-but doesn't the Bad outweigh the good more often then not.
Moss has a talent that most WR's in College and the NFL would give anything to have, and when his team is losing or has just lost a game he brings the whole locker room down. And you cant tell me that the Vikings/traiders trade was all about money.

Safety squeeze: Harrison underpaid, but won't hold out


FOXBORO - They are two men in similar situations facing nearly identical decisions. Richard Seymour [news] has chosen his path. So has Rodney Harrison [news].

Harrison, the Patriots [stats, news]' blood-and-guts veteran safety, isn't happy with his contract, one that still has four years to run and pays him far below the best safeties in the game. But where Seymour has expressed his displeasure in a holdout, Harrison has reported on time and in shape for the Pats' mandatory minicamp.

For Harrison, playing football is his passion, and he can't bring himself to put anything ahead of it - including money.

``No, I'm not one of the highest-paid safeties. I don't even think I'm in the top 10,'' Harrison said. ``Would I like to be? Yes, I would like to be. But what do you do? You just keep working hard and fighting and doing the best you can do.''

When asked if he's approached the Pats about bringing him into the top 10, Harrison said he hasn't. But that doesn't account for his agent, Steve Feldman, and sources say Harrison's contract has certainly been discussed.

Harrison represented a free agent steal for the Pats in 2003, when he turned down more lucrative offers from Oakland and Denver and signed a six-year, $14.5 million deal with a $2.5 million signing bonus. Since then, Harrison has arguably been the most valuable player on the Pats' defense, and he has two Super Bowl rings to show for it.

Harrison will make $1.8 million this year ($1.55 million salary with a $250,000 roster bonus). His salaries in years 2006-2008 range between $2 million and $3 million. The franchise salary at the position (the average of the top five contracts) is $4.9 million. The transition salary (average of the top 10 contracts) is $3.9 million. By any measure, Harrison has outperformed the deal he signed.

``I've always heard that you get back what you put into it,'' Harrison said. ``You can look at it a number of ways. You can look at that financially. You can look at that in victories, or how many tackles you had - personal accolades. I can look in the mirror and say I've done everything I possibly can to help this team, this organization, and be respectful of the fans and go out there and put my best foot forward every single time.''

That's why a holdout probably isn't in the cards for the 12-year veteran. While he skipped the entire voluntary portion of the Pats' offseason program, working out near his Atlanta home, Harrison showed up when he had to this week.

Harrison, 32, admitted that separating his head from his heart has been difficult.

``For me, it's a business. But it's a game. And when the business aspect comes into it, it takes a little bit of a turn emotionally,'' he said. ``You just have to realize what you're playing for. It gets tough. Business is never pretty. Sometimes it can be very ugly. You have to find out what's comfortable for you and what you feel like fits your life - and you stand behind it.

``For me, I couldn't play merely for the money,'' he added. ``But in all fairness, if you're out there producing, you want to feel like someone is being fair to you.''

McAllister wants work on deal done by camp


Saints running back Deuce McAllister said he hopes to have contract negotiations completed before training camp opens July 29. If not, the two-time Pro Bowler plans to cut the negotiations off until after the regular season.

McAllister is entering the final year of the four-year contract he signed as a rookie in 2001. He is scheduled to earn a base salary of $2.3 million this season.

Saints officials are negotiating with McAllister's agent, Ben Dogra, on a long-term contract extension. In the past couple of weeks, the sides have exchanged proposals on seven- and eight-year deals.

"We'll get it done," McAllister said. "My main focus is on the season right now. I'll leave the contract up to my agent."

McAllister is expected to command a deal similar to the eight-year, $50.5 million contract Clinton Portis received from Washington in 2004. That deal included $13 million guaranteed in the first year.

When asked if he wanted "Clinton Portis money," McAllister laughed. "I want Deuce McAllister money," McAllister said. "We'll see how everything works out. I'm not worried about it."

HAKIM TO CHIEFS: Veteran wide receiver Az-Zahir Hakim is close to signing a free-agent contract with the Kansas City Chiefs, Saints coach Jim Haslett said.

Hakim told Saints officials he enjoyed his visit to New Orleans but favored Kansas City because of his relationship with Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil and familiarity with coordinator Al Saunders' offense. Hakim played two seasons in St. Louis when Vermeil coached the Rams.

Haslett said the Saints will continue to pursue a veteran to bolster the depth at receiver.

"We're always looking to upgrade our football team," Haslett said. "It doesn't really make a difference whether it's at that position. We have confidence that Devery (Henderson) will handle the job, but you're always looking to make your football team better. If there's someone who we feel can make our team better, then we'll look into the option."

06-13-2005, 06:12 PM

• The Indianapolis Colts' summer school is finished, but the Edgerrin James drama is just beginning.

There's no question he will show up in time for training camp; he has said as much himself. While he may not be happy with the franchise tag and a salary of more than $8 million next year -- and, frankly, who would? -- he's not going to hold out of next month's camp or make a stink about getting a trade or a long-term deal.

James understands his beef shouldn't be with the Colts; it should be with the NFL Players Association, whose bargaining brilliance provided owners with the opportunity to keep star players without providing them long-term security.

Still, it's disappointing and downright wrong that James didn't show up for summer school, choosing instead to stay in Miami and incur the $1,000-a-day fine.

I don't buy this "it's Edge being Edge" garbage, like he deserves special consideration. How many Super Bowls have Edge's teams won since he's been in the league? He owes it to his teammates and to the owner paying him those millions to make the same commitment as Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison and everybody else who didn't miss summer school for an appointment with a court.

This summer, it's absolutely imperative that James travels with the team to Tokyo, and plays with the Colts' first-team offense during their preseason games. Even more, it's imperative that coach Tony Dungy, who wants Edge to play in the preseason, is backed up by team president Bill Polian, who in the past has let Edge do his thing.

When Polian lets Edge play by a different set of rules -- if he continues to let it slide when Edge gets one of his bogus, last-second hamstring pulls -- he thoroughly undermines Dungy's authority and makes him look like a powerless dupe.

Comments irk Dolphins offensive lineman McDougle


DAVIE -- According to Dolphins offensive lineman Stockar McDougle, a free-agent pickup in March, his former offensive line coach on the Lions didn't exactly provide glowing references to perspective suitors around the league.

"There was some bad reports that came from my former O-line coach that didn't help me in free agency, and [I] just [want to] show that all those things he said about me weren't true," said McDougle, 28, who has seemingly supplanted incumbent starting right tackle John St. Clair.

Without naming names, McDougle, a first-round draft pick by Detroit in 2000, was clearly referring to Lions offensive line coach Pat Morris -- who took over the unit from Carl Mauck in 2004 -- when quarterback Joey Harrington was sacked 36 times.

In the previous two seasons, McDougle was part of Mauck's line that led the league in fewest sacks allowed.

The 6-foot-6 McDougle, who recently dropped 20 pounds to 340 by eating wiser and taking up kickboxing, was most upset when he heard the Lions were telling league executives that he was lazy.

"He said I liked to take plays off, and that was something he told me I didn't do all during the season, that he was the proudest of me about," McDougle said. "Then he went back and was telling people at the [Indianapolis] combine, and people that were calling him, that I took plays off.

"That kind of bothered me that he would say one thing to my face and say something else behind my back. It just showed me a lot about the character of the man, but I learned something."

The Detroit organization chose not to comment on McDougle's comments.

McDougle, a former Deerfield Beach High standout, said he turned down more money from the Steelers to return home to South Florida and the Dolphins for a one-year deal at $750,000.

"I get a chance to take my kids to school on some days," McDougle said.

Dolphins coach Nick Saban, who has stressed throughout the three-day minicamp that starting positions haven't been finalized yet, praised McDougle's toughness.

"We're really pleased with the physical effort he has given and the physical toughness that he brings," Saban said.

Niners, QB Smith close to agreement


June 13, 2005) -- A deal between quarterback Alex Smith and the San Francisco 49ers has been all but agreed to. There still will be some minor haggling on language, and a little on numbers, but not much. Both sides are now very optimistic that a deal will be struck before training camp, and it will be a win-win.

When the contract is officially finalized, it will slightly exceed the numbers awarded to last year's No. 1 pick Eli Manning, who signed a six-year, $54 million contract that included a $20 million signing bonus. The deal might not be signed for another month, just because camp doesn't open until then, but it will get signed in time for camp.

There is not expected to be any holdout, and it's understandable why. Both sides were highly motiviated in this deal. The Niners have a new regime that wants to prove it is going to do things right, and Smith has made it a point to stress how important it is for him to be in training camp on time. No reason both won't happen.

06-14-2005, 04:06 PM
Heap agrees to contract extension. (http://www.nfl.com/teams/story/BAL/8563396)

When details are released, this might impact the Chargers discussions with Gates.


Ravens, Heap agree on six-year extension

NFL.com wire reports

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (June 14, 2005) -- Baltimore Ravens tight end Todd Heap has agreed to a six-year contract extension.

Heap is a two-time Pro Bowl selection who was limited to 27 catches for 303 yards and three touchdowns during an injury-plagued 2004 season. He missed 10 games with an ankle injury that required surgery.

Heap is entering his fifth NFL season and was set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2005 season. Financial terms weren't immediately available.

In 2003, Heap caught 57 passes for 693 yards and three touchdowns to earn his second Pro Bowl selection. He caught a career-high 68 passes for 836 yards and six touchdowns in 2002.

06-14-2005, 06:02 PM
Heap agrees to contract extension. (http://www.nfl.com/teams/story/BAL/8563396)

When details are released, this might impact the Chargers discussions with Gates.

You're right, Shammy. Heap's contract will be a ballpark blueprint for Gates. Take the base salaries and signing bonuses and add on incentives for consistent Gonzalez-like production, and I believe the Chargers and Gates have a long-term deal. :)

06-14-2005, 06:28 PM
Browns TE talks about accident, contract. Knee surgery today


BEREA - Kellen Winslow Jr. will have surgery today to repair a torn ligament in his right knee, but he vowed that it will not hamper him in the future.

``I want to be the best ever,'' he said Monday in his first interview since his motorcycle accident May 1.

After initially declining an interview with the Beacon Journal, Winslow pulled a reporter aside just outside the locker room on the first day of the Browns' minicamp and said he would talk but only in private.

Winslow said he was sorry for his accident, admitted that he knew motorcyling was an activity prohibited in his contract and said he understood the fans' frustrations because he had the same frustrations.
``But everything happens for a reason,'' he said. ``I can only gain from this. My back's up against the wall, and I'm going to get stronger.''

The main point that he wanted to get across to the fans?

``Just stick with me,'' he said. ``I'm going to be back.''

He said he wants to come back with the Browns. He said he had no desire to play elsewhere.

Winslow also detailed his exact injuries for the first time. He said the accident left him with a lacerated liver and kidney, a bruised right shoulder, a torn ACL and a hairline fracture of his femur. He pointed to the spot of the fracture, and it was on the outside of the right knee.

Winslow said all the injuries are healed except for the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee.

``I was knocked out for like two minutes, and my feeling was I was all right,'' he said of the accident. ``I just fell off. I thought I just bruised my knee because I was kind of stiff. It was kind of painful. I knew I messed my arm up pretty good, but I thought it was just... you know...

``I knew I was going to fall, and I thought I was just going to get right back up.''

He said the accident happened when he accelerated too much and hit a curb in a Cuyahoga Community College parking lot near his home in Westlake.

He said he was ``aware'' that his contract listed motorcyling as a hazardous activity and that could cause him to be in default if he was injured.
``I'm grown. I still have to live my life. I did know the circumstances behind it, but I'm still learning. I'm young,'' he said. ``You think you're invincible. You think nothing's going to happen to you. It was a mistake.''

Asked if an apology was in order, Winslow said: ``Yeah. I did apologize in my letter (he referred to his statement released through the 1964 Browns Web site). You know, I am sorry for what I've done. A lot of people have motorcycles, but since I got hurt, I'm sorry.''

He said he understood his father's feelings about the way that his accident has been reported, feelings that were expressed at a recent gathering of the '64 team.

``He's just a dad trying to protect his son,'' Winslow said. ``If it was your son, you'd do the same thing. You'd try to protect him. That's what he's supposed to do.''

Winslow said he did not make a statement at the '64 Browns event because he did not want to take away from the team.

The surgery will involve taking a piece of Winslow's hamstring and grafting it on to the ligament, he said. He said there might be a chance he could play this season, ``but I couldn't play how I wanted to play.''

``You have to let the ACL heal,'' he said.

He vowed that he will be the player whom the Browns thought that they had when they drafted him sixth overall a year ago.

``I'll be fine, man,'' he said. ``I will. No doubt.''


``That's just the way I am,'' he said. ``I rehab and work hard. I work the hardest. I want to be the best ever. That's just what I want to do.''

Winslow said the ``true fans'' that he has spoken to -- ``not the ones behind the keyboards'' -- have been supportive.

``The ones I've talked to have my back,'' he said.

He also said he understands the anger the other fans have expressed.

``I can imagine,'' he said. ``They want to see me play. I want to see me play. I'm frustrated, too.

``All I can say is stay with me and help me through this, and I'll be back, and I'm going to be everything they wanted me to be.''

So KWII knew it was wrong to ride the bike. Something I'm sure the Postons would rather he had not admitted too. That may take whatever leverage the Postons thought they had concerning Merriman with the Chargers and AJ.

Chow's offense to create chaos
Defense to see plenty of motion today


When the Titans defense breaks the huddle and looks to line up in the most advantageous way against Norm Chow's offense this morning, defenders will have plenty of tracking to do.

On a large share of Chow's plays, receivers, running backs and tight ends start out in one spot but shift or motion to another before the snap. It's part of the new offensive coordinator's plan to maximize mismatches and make defenses work harder to cover the Titans' weapons.

"It's always a hassle," linebacker Peter Sirmon said of figuring out who's going where.

"It makes them have to be on their toes," fullback Troy Fleming said.

"Most defenses like to go to the line, line up and they're already set."

The Titans will get six more minicamp practices of non-contact work running and defending the motion in the next two weeks. The first of the six practices is today and the last is June 23.

For some Titans fans, the idea of increased motion and shifting brings back bad memories.

When Les Steckel was the offensive coordinator from 1997-99, pre-snap movement was a regular feature, primarily with tight ends and H-backs. In his final season with the team, Steckel's offense was good enough to get to Super Bowl XXXIV.

But the pre-snap movement often resulted in a crucial delay-of-game or illegal motion penalty or forced the team to burn a timeout. Under Steckel's successor, Mike Heimer-dinger, the Titans shifted away from shifting.

Chow is confident the 2005 Titans will have the movement mastered and the wrinkles in the scheme will provide an advantage to the Titans, not the opponent.

"That's why we're trying it now," he said. "If we have clock problems or too many men on the line of scrimmage, I'm not dumb. If we can't work it we aren't going to force it, no way.

"No. 1 you've got to worry about the play clock, that's what I've got to get used to. No. 2 I think we want to show some stuff, because then it's, 'OK they can do this, we can do that' kind of deal. It's just playing chess."

Coach Jeff Fisher emphasized that under Chow plays with motion and shifting come with simplified wording and streamlined play calls.

Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said working against the revamped offense is a healthy thing for the young defense.

"It forces us to work all those adjustments," Schwartz said. "Usually what happens is you come out of training camp and there is something that your offense doesn't do. Typically for us it was screens, shifts and motions. Norm has given all that to us, so it helps us prepare better. It should put us at an advantage later on because we won't have to catch up as much."

Fisher said dealing with it at this stage of the year is better work for the defense than trying to simply react to a scout team that mimics an opponent's motion and shifting during the season.

The simplest benefit of moving potential pass catchers and ball carriers around before the snap is that the defense is forced to shift to match up, creating more opportunities for errors.

"Every time you get the defense to trigger or change a call, there's the potential for somebody to make a mistake," Fisher said. "And you try to capitalize on it."

Schwartz and Sirmon said that regular season games against teams that shift a lot usually require a lot of preparation. But once the defense becomes familiar with what an offense does, it's not such a big issue.

"When we played Chicago last year, it was shift-a-rama, motion-o-rama," Schwartz said. "It was a hard practice week. But once we had practiced it all, we were OK in the game."

Chow will have an early advantage.

New to the NFL after years of success as a college coordinator, he can show what he likes in preseason games, then surprise the first few teams on the regular-season schedule.

"Just to maybe try to get a mismatch in there, try to get them a little bit uncertain as to where they've got to go," he said. "You have to make such quick decisions, and if we just lessen the time they have to make that decision, hopefully we can catch them off guard. We're just trying to gain a little bit of an advantage."

06-14-2005, 07:41 PM
Heap agrees to contract extension. (http://www.nfl.com/teams/story/BAL/8563396)

When details are released, this might impact the Chargers discussions with Gates.


Ravens, Heap agree on six-year extension

NFL.com wire reports

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (June 14, 2005) -- Baltimore Ravens tight end Todd Heap has agreed to a six-year contract extension.

Heap is a two-time Pro Bowl selection who was limited to 27 catches for 303 yards and three touchdowns during an injury-plagued 2004 season. He missed 10 games with an ankle injury that required surgery.

Heap is entering his fifth NFL season and was set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2005 season. Financial terms weren't immediately available.

In 2003, Heap caught 57 passes for 693 yards and three touchdowns to earn his second Pro Bowl selection. He caught a career-high 68 passes for 836 yards and six touchdowns in 2002.
In contrast to those numbers, here are Gates numbers from last year -

81 964 11.9 72 13

Looks like he'll get a bit more than Heap got.

06-14-2005, 07:47 PM
heaps numbers extrapolated for the season are 72 catches 808 yards and 8 tds. those are good numbers. hes also been playing at a high level for longer. i think well start at a number for gates contract lower than what heap got but it will end up around the same.

06-14-2005, 08:01 PM
I just don't think extrapolated is equal to accomplished. We can talk up last season for our WR, Caldwell "if we extrapolate his numbers out to a full season" but you can bet the Chargers won't use that method to pay him. Part of being valuable is staying out on the field. I believe Gates should end up with somewhat more than Heap got.

06-14-2005, 08:05 PM
I just don't think extrapolated is equal to accomplished. We can talk up last season for our WR, Caldwell "if we extrapolate his numbers out to a full season" but you can bet the Chargers won't use that method to pay him. Part of being valuable is staying out on the field. I believe Gates should end up with somewhat more than Heap got.

i agree that it doesnt equal accomplished but you cant look at gates numbers and heaps last number last season and say that gates will get a lot more just based off of those numbers. i think if we give gates a contract before this season starts then hell get about the same as heap, but if we wait and give him one next season then it will be significantly more than heap.

06-14-2005, 10:27 PM
i agree that it doesnt equal accomplished but you cant look at gates numbers and heaps last number last season and say that gates will get a lot more just based off of those numbers. i think if we give gates a contract before this season starts then hell get about the same as heap, but if we wait and give him one next season then it will be significantly more than heap.
I pretty much agree with that but I also imagine that Gates is aware that another season like last year will signal a big pay day and he'll expect to be rewarded well for a long term contract. It could be he'll be interested in a contract with some incentives for things like catches/yards/TD's, etc. However it comes down, I'm confident that the front office is aware of how much he means to the team and they'll sign him soon.

06-15-2005, 04:13 PM

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (June 15, 2005) -- Safety Reggie Tongue was released by the New York Jets after starting all 16 games last season.

Tongue played just one season with the Jets and had the second longest interception return in the team's postseason history with an 85-yard touchdown run against Pittsburgh. The longest was 98 yards by Darrol Ray in 1982.

A second-round draft pick in 1996 by Kansas City, Tongue played four years with the Chiefs and four years with Seattle.

CHIEFS NOTEBOOK Vermeil says Hakim has no guarantees


Do not be fooled by the smiles, the gushing or the fact Az-Zahir Hakim had dinner with the Vermeils last week and Carol Vermeil pointed out how much their old friend had matured.

Hakim will be in Kansas City today, he’ll compete for a receiver spot, but that’s all coach Dick Vermeil is promising.

“A position isn’t going to be handed to him in a Christmas package,” Vermeil said Tuesday. “He’s going to have to compete, and he knows that. I didn’t really actively recruit hard to get this guy. I wanted him to come on his own.

“There’s more receivers on our field today that can compete for one of those positions than we’ve ever had since I’ve been here. So it will be fun to watch.”

The Chiefs reached an oral agreement with Hakim late last week. His agent, Bruce Tollner, said Hakim was expected to catch a flight out of California late Tuesday and will sign his contract after arriving in Kansas City.

Tollner said Hakim agreed to a one-year deal but declined to specify a salary amount.

Both Vermeil and president/general manager Carl Peterson have said that they would sign a receiver only if they could get him at or near the veteran minimum. Hakim will help fill the void left by receiver Johnnie Morton, who was cut earlier this month after he refused to restructure his contract.

Tollner said Hakim, a 5-foot-10, 185-pounder, probably will participate in today’s offseason workout.

Hakim was cut from Detroit in April and has spent nearly two months searching for the right fit. Hakim and Vermeil have a long history. Six years ago, he played on Vermeil’s Super Bowl champion team in St. Louis.

“If he’s anywhere close to what he was then, he’ll have a very good chance to make a strong contribution to this offense,” Vermeil said.

¦ SECOND FIDDLE?: After spending seven years as a starter, Chiefs safety Jerome Woods is running with the No. 2 defense.

Woods, who arrived at offseason workouts late because he said he was working with a speed coach, now finds himself behind longtime friend Greg Wesley. Vermeil said that’s how the depth chart is stacked now, in part because the Chiefs acquired Sammy Knight to fill the strong safety spot and in part because Wesley played well enough at the end of the year to keep a starting job.

On several occasions this spring, Vermeil has raved about Wesley’s offseason work ethic. He’s moved from strong safety to free safety.

“I talked to Jerome about this — you can’t be fair to everybody,” Vermeil said.

“Jerome is getting back into it. You know his feelings were hurt, and I understand that. I hurt my wife’s feelings from time to time. It’s just impossible to make everybody happy. But we respect Jerome Woods, and we care about him, and he will be put in a strong position to compete.”

¦ LOOKING BETTER: The Chiefs worked on goal-line stands during Tuesday’s practice, and rookie linebacker Derrick Johnson impressed the coaches when he successfully defended a pass that fell incomplete in the corner of the end zone.

“We’re so much further ahead defensively than we were last year at the same time,” Vermeil said. “Even in the mental side of it. … Hopefully that leads to progress, and progress leads to confidence, and confidence leads to better performance.”

¦ FOUR MEN OUT: Vermeil’s praise for the defense came on a day when some of their regulars were missing. Defensive end Eric Hicks, cornerback Patrick Surtain and tackles John Browning and Junior Siavii did not attend Tuesday’s workout.

Vermeil said Surtain had a personal situation, Browning is helping his wife through a delicate pregnancy, and Siavii went to get a second opinion on his knee and will be back in practice today.

Hicks was at the hospital as his daughter, Shayla, had what Vermeil called a “heart procedure.” Shayla overcame numerous heart surgeries as an infant.

“She’s going to be OK,” Vermeil said. “I haven’t checked with him today, but they were confident that everything was going to be all right.”

Colts' Doss suspended for first two games

INDIANAPOLIS (June 15, 2005) -- Indianapolis Colts safety Mike Doss was suspended by the NFL for the first two regular-season games after pleading no contest to misdemeanor gun charges.

Doss was sentenced to community service last week after pleading no contest to misdemeanor gun charges in Akron, Ohio, where he was arrested after firing a gun into the air outside a restaurant on May 29.

"We support the policy and the commissioner completely and therefore left it in his hands. He has acted," Colts president Bill Polian said of the decision by NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

"We hope this swift sure action by the commissioner sends a signal to all concerned, players and fans alike; that actions such as those engaged in by Mike Doss will not be tolerated in the NFL or with the Colts."

Under the league's suspension, Doss may participate in all preseason practices and games but must sit out the first two regular-season games -- without pay -- Sept. 11 at Baltimore and Sept. 18 at home against Jacksonville. He will be eligible to return to the active roster on Sept. 19.

"We hope that Mike has learned a positive, if costly, lesson from this experience," Polian said. "Our expectation is that he has and that he will return to our team as the major contributor he has been in the past.

"The Colts consider this matter closed."

Doss faced a felony weapons charge and three misdemeanor charges after his arrest by Akron police.

He pleaded no contest last week to misdemeanor charges of carrying a concealed weapon and firing a weapon within city limits. He was sentenced to 40 hours community service, fined $1,000 and ordered to destroy the gun. A 180-day jail sentence was suspended.

Doss later apologized to the court, the city of Akron, the Colts and his family.

"He just wants go to back to playing football," said his attorney Jon Sinn.

Doss, selected in the second round of the 2003 draft from Ohio State, has 150 career tackles and had three career interceptions over two seasons.

06-15-2005, 04:45 PM

Daunte Culpepper was asked Tuesday his reaction to ex-teammate Randy Moss' ESPN interview during which the eccentric wide receiver asserted that his new Oakland Raiders teammate Kerry Collins is a better overall quarterback than the Vikings' Pro Bowl QB.

Culpepper smiled quizzically, then shook his head.

"When I first heard that, I figured maybe Randy had fallen and bumped his head to say something that crazy," Culpepper said. "All they've got to do is look at the numbers. I mean no disrespect to Kerry Collins. I understand that (Moss) has to say something good about his quarterback. But he didn't have to say anything that crazy."


• Dolphins buzz: QB Gus Frerotte will enter camp as the front-runner to start, with players privately praising his touch and command of the offense. . . . Vernon Carey, trying to stave off Damion McIntosh at left tackle, has ''a ways to go . . . his run-blocking is good,'' coach Nick Saban said. . . . Less than a year from knee surgery, [B]David Boston remains a ways from returning to his old form.

• How tough has the Game 7 loss been for the Heat? ''Every day, I wake up thinking about it and I don't think that will stop until the Finals are over,'' Eddie Jones said at Friday's Henri and Zack Crockett event to benefit underprivileged kids. ``We have a championship team, without a doubt.''

Arrington Hearing Is Back On


Linebacker LaVar Arrington's oft-postponed hearing for a grievance against the Washington Redskins is back on, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation. The hearing is scheduled for July 18, almost one year after the sides had hoped to decide the matter through binding arbitration.

When Arrington filed a non-injury grievance in March 2004, arbitration became inevitable because the matter couldn't be resolved through meetings involving owner Daniel Snyder and Gene Upshaw, executive director of the NFL Players Association.

Arrington believes that the Redskins omitted $6.5 million in bonuses agreed upon for 2006 from an eight-year, $68 million contract extension signed in December 2003.

He contends that the Redskins purposely removed the difference from the final draft that he signed at Redskins Park under deadline pressure.

Although Arrington filed the grievance as an individual through Detroit-based attorney Don Petersen, sources said that the linebacker is receiving assistance from NFLPA general counsel Richard Berthelsen, as well as Jeffrey Kessler of the Dewey Ballantine firm in New York. The Redskins have been assisted by the NFL Management Council. However, in such matters the club is usually represented by Dan Nash of the Akin Gump firm.

The hearing is expected to last one day (possibly at Redskins Park), with Richard Bloch or Shyam Das serving as arbitrator. The hearing will include presentation of evidence under oath, and cross-examination.

The disputed contract was negotiated by Arrington's agent, Carl Poston , and Redskins salary-cap specialist Eric Schaffer, who was recently promoted to director of football administration. Poston has conceded that he didn't read the contract's final draft because of a looming deadline.

Under Virginia law, the signed contract leaves Arrington with a high standard of proof to show fraud or an intent to deceive. Arrington's position, a source said, is that he agreed to roughly $28 million through the first four years of the extension, but instead received roughly $21 million.

Arrington, who is rehabilitating from right knee surgery on April 6, couldn't be reached for comment. Poston and Redskins spokesman Karl Swanson didn't return calls.

In May 2004, Upshaw met with Snyder at Redskins Park, but they could not reach a resolution. The hearing was scheduled for Sept. 21, 2004, before being moved to late July so it could be settled before Coach Joe Gibbs's first season back. The hearing was switched to Nov. 2, then was indefinitely delayed after a scheduling conflict by an NFL lawyer. Last month, the Redskins pushed to have the hearing occur before training camp starts July 31, sources said.

During a January 12 interview with Comcast SportsNet, Arrington hinted that he would drop the grievance, partly because injuries limited him to four games in 2004. But Arrington's resolve was strengthened after reports quoted anonymous sources saying that he never had a case in the first place, according to a person involved with the hearing.

If Arrington wins, it will have implications for the club's 2006 salary cap, bringing the linebacker's cap hit from $12 million to $18.6 million.

06-16-2005, 05:31 AM
Cowboys | Witten Poised for Big Bucks
Wed, 15 Jun 2005

Matt Mosley, of DallasNews.com, reports Dallas Cowboys TE Jason Witten is now poised for a big payday following the recent six-year, $30 million deal signed by Baltimore Ravens TE Todd Heap. The Cowboys are expected try and extend Witten, who becomes a free agent in 2006, in the near future. The good news for the Cowboys is that coach Bill Parcells and Witten share the same agent, Jimmy Sexton. That doesn't mean the Cowboys will get a special discount, but it should make negotiations relatively painless.


The longer it takes to sign Gates, the more the market rises.

06-16-2005, 11:02 AM
With Polk out for the year (most likely), are any of these guys worth going after?

foxsports.com story (http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/3692474)


Now that the draft has passed, NFL teams will be looking at their holes through mini-camp. Teams will then look to the list of top available veterans to help stabilize their roster for training camp before they attempt to address those further needs in the 2006 NFL Draft. Here's a list of the top veterans available on the open market.

Player 2004 Team
Vinny Testaverde Cowboys
Jeff Blake Eagles
Doug Johnson Titans
Kordell Stewart Ravens
Shaun King Cardinals
Jeff George Bears
Brock Huard Seahawks
Quincy Carter Jets
Chris Chandler Rams
Vinny Testaverde is a solid backup type who still has the competitive drive to lead a team. He was decent with Dallas last season, but his immobility and knack for giving up too many turnovers are strikes against him, especially at his age. If Testaverde can accept a backup role, he should be in camp somewhere. Jeff Blake has a lot of experience as a starter and has posted some solid numbers for stretches, but isn't always a good locker room guy. Shaun King is on the fringe right now. He couldn't solidify a backup role in Arizona last season. His accuracy was very erratic in 2004. Jeff George is a wildcard right now. His past talent is intriguing and he's become more humbled on the surface, but his track record scares a lot of teams. It's telling that the Bears haven't resigned him, as they were desperate for a veteran earlier this spring.

Running Backs
Player 2004 Team
Dorsey Levens Eagles
Eddie George Cowboys
Amos Zereoue Raiders
Tyrone Wheatley Raiders
J.R. Redmond Raiders
Garrison Hearst Broncos
Chad Morton Redskins
Dorsey Levens looked sharp at times in a backup role behind Brian Westbrook last season. Levens still has value as a short-yard and third down back in the ball-control passing offense like Philadelphia runs, but his age is working against him. Eddie George might head back to Tennessee as insurance behind Chris Brown. George never was much of a factor in Dallas last season. Tyrone Wheatley has some value as a power back, but he gets banged up a lot and might not fit into the makeup of most teams. Chad Morton is strictly a return specialist. He has scoring potential as a return man, but has durability problems.

Player 2004 Team
Richie Anderson Cowboys
Marc Edwards Jaguars
Tom Lopienski Bucs
Chris Davis Seahawks
Greg Comella Bucs
Stephen Trejo Lions
There isn't much here. Richie Anderson is coming off a serious neck injury. If he can return to form, he's a solid veteran who offers his most value on third downs. Anderson has an outstanding feel for the passing game as a pass catcher and on blitz pickups. Marc Edwards has a lot of experience, but has been very inconsistent throughout his career. He's coming off a very subpar season in Jacksonville. He's faded in the past two seasons and is strictly a wall-off type as a lead blocker these days. Tom Lopienski has shown flashes as a tough lead blocker at times in his career, but has too many limitations. He's strictly a straight-ahead lead blocker. Chris Davis has potential as an all-around fullback, but has been unable to stay healthy.

Wide Receivers
Player 2004 Team
Johnnie Morton Chiefs
Koren Robinson Seahawks
Curtis Conway 49ers
Freddie Mitchell Eagles
Tai Streets Lions
Bobby Shaw Chargers
J.J. Moses Texans
Johnnie Morton is a savvy veteran receiver who does a solid job in the intermediate passing game when given space, but lacks big-play ability and isn't very physical. Morton also turns 34 in October. Koren Robinson is a skillful athlete, but runs bad routes and drops a lot of passes. He also has had a lot of off-field issues and is very immature. Curtis Conway has been an adequate stopgap the past two seasons for teams that lost their best receiver. He still has value outside the hashmarks. Freddie Mitchell displays stretches of productivity from the slot and catches the ball well, but is too inconsistent with his routes and separation. He also lacks versatility. Tai Streets can be very effective at times, but has durability problems. When healthy, Streets can stretch the field vertically as a complementary receiver. J.J. Moses has no value as a wide receiver. He's strictly a return specialist. In that role, Moses is very reliable, but lacks the speed to make himself a scoring threat.

Tight Ends
Player 2004 Team
Ken Dilger Bucs
Jay Riemersma Steelers
Chad Lewis Eagles
Rickey Dudley Bucs
Cam Cleeland Rams
Brian Kozlowski Redskins
Zeron Flemister Patriots
Ken Dilger remains savvy in the passing game, but can't run anymore. Jay Riemersma will likely get an opportunity somewhere as a backup. He gives an effort as a positional blocker and catches the ball well, but has trouble getting open these days. Chad Lewis is coming off a serious foot injury. He could re-sign with the Eagles at some point later this summer. Cam Cleeland can be effective as a pass catcher and blocker, but lacks speed and strength to make a difference in both areas.

Player 2004 Team
Gennaro DiNapoli Cowboys
Billy Conaty Vikings
Jerry Fontenot Bengals
Jerry Fontenot had some value as a veteran the past few years, but has faded to the point where's he's no longer effective.

Player 2004 Team
Dan Neil Broncos
Frank Middleton Raiders
Kelvin Garmon Browns
David Dixon Vikings
Doug Brzezinski Panthers
Matt Joyce Lions
Dan Neil could return to Denver. His value isn't very high around the league due to his lack of size and knee problems. Frank Middleton has a lot of experience and can be effective as an in-line blocker, but has a lot of limitations. He lacks the makeup most teams are looking for at this point. He's one of those traditional Raiders. Kelvin Garmon has a lot of starting experience and can be effective as a run blocker at times, but isn't much of an athlete and has durability concerns. David Dixon is a phone-booth power blocker. He might be able to squeeze out another season if his snaps are monitored.

Offensive Tackles
Player 2004 Team
Ross Verba Browns
Chris Terry Seahawks
Kyle Turley Rams
Scott Gragg 49ers
Marcus Price Bills
Aaron Gibson Bears
Matt Willig Panthers
Ross Verba is a tweener between left guard and tackle, but is coming off a very strong season. Verba lacks ideal size and athleticism, but is very smart and plays with excellent technique. His history of injuries is troubling from the past. There is no question Chris Terry has a lot of talent and possesses the feet to play left tackle, but is reliable off the field. He's also coming off an injury and hasn't been committed towards his rehab. Kyle Turley is a very good athlete, but is coming off a herniated disc in his back and has lost a lot of weight. His future is uncertain. Scott Gragg is a natural right tackle with a lot of experience, but is nearing the end of his career. Marcus Price has some value as a reserve. Matt Willig is just a big body who has some experience. He has chronically bad knees and struggles in pass protection.

Defensive Tackles
Player 2004 Team
Ed Jasper Falcons
Travis Hall Falcons
Ellis Johnson Broncos
John Parrella Raiders
Jermaine Haley Redskins
Norman Hand Giants
Ed Jasper complemented retirement following the season, but could surface somewhere for another season. Physically, he's near the end due to injuries, but he's like a coach on the field and is technically sound. Ellis Johnson is still effective as an interior penetrator who can get some pressure on the quarterback, but is more of a headache for the organization he plays for due to his constant talk about retiring. Jermaine Haley has some value as a run clogger in a backup role, but that's all.

Defensive Ends
Player 2004 Team
Kenny Mixon Vikings
Chidi Ahanotu Bucs
Brad Scioli Colts
Jay Williams Rams
Brandon Whiting 49ers
Keith Washington Giants
Lionel Barnes Jaguars
Lorenzo Bromell Giants
Kenny Mixon is instinctive against the run, but has always been plagued by off-field problems. Chidi Ahanotu always finds his way onto someone's roster every season. He's not very talented, but has a great motor and fills a stop-gap role effectively. Brad Scioli is versatile and has been effective in the past based upon effort. Unfortunately, he's fading physically and has been plagued by shoulder problems in the past. Jay Williams was cut by the Rams after only a couple months. Williams is an intense run defender at the point of attack, but is strictly a rotation player nearing the end of his career. Brandon Whiting has good versatility as a run defender outside and can move inside on passing downs, but has been ravaged by shoulder and knee injuries over the past year.

06-16-2005, 11:03 AM
Player 2004 Team
Peter Boulware Ravens
Anthony Simmons Seahawks
Kevin Hardy Bengals
Orlando Ruff Saints
T.J. Slaughter Ravens
Roman Phifer Patriots
Eric Westmoreland Browns
Peter Boulware's main value is as a pass rusher, but he's lost a step and is coming off knee problems. He struggles at the point of attack against the run and is a liability in pass coverage, so he needs to find the right fit in someone's scheme. Anthony Simmons is a very good athlete, but has been extremely inconsistent over the past couple seasons. Simmons has durability issues and some attitude problems. Kevin Hardy is on the decline, but still has some value on the strong side as a stop-gap. Hardy can play over the tight end and help funnel run plays inside. He'll offer some veteran leadership. Orlando Ruff is an inside run stuffer, but is a limited athlete who is a liability in pass coverage. T.J. Slaughter doesn't provide value outside of being aggressive against the run. Roman Phifer doesn't have much value around the league, but is a savvy pass defender in a backup role.

Player 2004 Team
Ty Law Patriots
Bobby Taylor Seahawks
Aaron Beasley Falcons
Terrell Buckley Jets
Dewayne Washington Jaguars
Terrance Shaw Vikings
Earthwind Moreland Patriots
Ty Law is still recovering from his foot injury. He likely won't sign anywhere until given a medical clearance. Bobby Taylor has good size and does his best in press coverage, but injuries have limited him the few seasons. His experience is valuable, but he's on the downside of his career and lacks enough speed in pure man coverage. Aaron Beasley still has some value as insurance within a zone defense. He's physical and knows how to position himself. Terrell Buckley provides veteran experience and savvy, but that's about all these days.

Player 2004 Team
Eric Brown Texans
Cory Hall Falcons
Tony Dixon Cowboys
Omar Stoutmire Giants
Brock Marion Lions
Damien Robinson Jaguars
Ray Buchanan Raiders
Brian Walker Lions
Rogers Beckett Bengals
Eric Brown is a solid run support safety, but is a liability against the pass. Cory Hall only strength is his experience as a starter. Hall plays aggressively on the field, but is too erratic and loses his focus often. He doesn't make enough plays on the ball against the pass. Hall signed with Washington in May, but left the team after one practice. He's debating the status of his career. Tony Dixon is a limited area run defender who struggles in space, especially against the pass. Omar Stoutmire is a physical run defender and has some value in zone coverage, but his lack of speed is a liability at times. Brock Marion has very little range these days and doesn't even make enough plays against the run. Damien Robinson has some value in run support, but struggles against the pass. He also lacks ideal mental makeup. Ray Buchanan provided some stability at free safety for Oakland last season, but is near the end. He strictly relies on veteran instincts. Rogers Beckett might not play again due to suffering a few concussions.

Player 2004 Team
Morten Andersen Vikings
Steve Christie Giants
Gary Anderson Titans
Martin Gramatica Colts
Doug Brien is famous for his big miss in the playoffs. Although he's an upgradeable kicker, Brien possesses solid stop-gap value. He's generally accurate within 40 yards, but loses a lot of range as he approaches the deeper territories. Morten Andersen never seems to go away. His range is limited, but he's generally reliable within 40 yards. Steve Christie had a decent season with the Giants last season, but lacks range and consistency. Gary Anderson faded badly last season with Tennessee.

Player 2004 Team
Chris Mohr Falcons
Sean Landeta Rams
Ken Walter Seahawks
Bryan Barker Packers
Chris Mohr should have some value later in the summer. He's generally reliable and kicks within his coverage. Sean Landeta faded before the Rams cut him loose last season. He might have seen the end of the line, but still has some supporters. Ken Walter has some hang-time, but a weak leg. Bryan Barker is strictly a fringe player these days.

06-16-2005, 01:54 PM
I doubt they'll look for another LB because of Polks injury because I doubt they were counting heavily on Polk anyway. If a starter was injured at this point, they meant think about a FA or a trade but Polk figured to be a back-up and speciel teams player so I doubt they'll make any moves. They still have a lot of LB's in camp - Edwards, Cooper, Leber, Godfrey, Foley, Hodges, Robby, Phillips, Wilhelm, and Harris.

06-16-2005, 04:56 PM

NEW YORK (June 16, 2005) -- Jets quarterback Chad Pennington has started throwing again, four months after surgery to repair a torn right rotator cuff.

Last week, Pennington began tossing the football off to the side during the final few offseason training activity sessions. Though he didn't participate in the practices, he was able to work on handoffs to the running backs.

Pennington is throwing about 80 times every other day, and the Jets expect him to be ready for full practice when training camp opens July 29.

"While he did not throw during on-field OTA practices, Chad was given clearance and a schedule to throw the football and will continue to be evaluated as to the amount of throws he will make leading up to training camp," coach Herman Edwards said in a statement.

"We fully expect Chad to be ready for the start of training camp."

Pennington had surgery in February after playing the final seven games of last season with a tear in the muscle of the rotator cuff, which the Jets initially said was a strain. The Jets went 3-4 in that span, and Pennington looked shaky, constantly underthrowing or overthrowing receivers.

Titans release safety Schulters


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (June 16, 2005) -- The Tennessee Titans released safety Lance Schulters shortly after failing to reach agreement on a new salary cap-friendly deal.

The Titans, who cut six high-priced veterans in February, had been expected to release the seven-year veteran in their attempt to rebuild and free up enough salary-cap space to build up other weak areas this season.

Schulters was paid a roster bonus in March. Team officials and agent Brian Levy made one last attempt at finding a price both could agree earlier this week.

"We floated some ideas back and forth," Levy said. "I don't think either of us felt comfortable with the other's ideas. So we just felt it would be best at this time we parted ways amicably. We've accomplished that."

Schulters revived the Tennessee defense when signed as a free agent in 2002 after beginning his career in San Francisco. He didn't miss a start until injuring his left foot in the third game last year and missed the rest of the season.

Schulters has 5½ sacks and 15 interceptions in his career, and he had 192 tackles and six interceptions in his three seasons with the Titans.

Seahawks Notebook: Catch, clutch, contribute
Jurevicius shares formula to avoid drops


KIRKLAND -- Joe Jurevicius is not perfect.

The free-agent wide receiver signed by the Seahawks in March actually dropped a pass during a minicamp practice this week.

"I was trying to do something funky with it, and it kind of backfired on me," Jurevicius said yesterday.

The more lasting impression of Jurevicius from the eight-day minicamp that concludes today is the way he locks onto the ball as it leaves the quarterback's hand and does not take his eyes off the pass until it is in his hands.

What a concept.

For a team trying any number of drills and exercises to reduce the number of dropped passes, after ranking among the league leaders in drops the past two seasons, the coaches might insist the other receivers study Jurevicius' habits.

"What I've noticed so far is the ball coming in there close in tight coverage and Joe is grabbing it and not letting go," said quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who returned yesterday after missing two days of workouts following the death of his grandmother. "Sometimes a hand slap gets the ball out of there, but he's showing that he holds onto the ball well."

Jurevicius didn't come by this catch, clutch and contribute trifecta by accident. His almost exaggerated routine has taken years to develop and is rooted in past mistakes that he didn't want to repeat.

The catch: It's a matter of repetition, a lesson Jurevicius learned from his father and then his coach at Lake Catholic High School in Mentor, Ohio. The more balls you catch -- from the QB during practice, off the ball machine after practice -- the easier it becomes to catch.

"The biggest thing is focusing on the ball, and if you're able to focus on a football it's going to make your chances of catching it that much better," he said.

"It's not to say that I haven't had my share of drops," he quickly added. "But if I drop one, I'm not going to drop another."

The clutch: Jurevicius does most of his work over the middle, the NFL equivalent of rush-hour traffic, where any number of hands have chances to tip, slap or strip the ball.

"To be honest with you, I think the reason it doesn't come out is because I was stripped of a football once early in my career and it was pretty embarrassing getting chewed out on the sideline by your coach," Jurevicius said.

That was against the Philadelphia Eagles during his rookie season with the New York Giants in 1998.

"It's just become habit where you get that ball and tuck it in," he said.

The contributions: Jurevicius knows he's not the fastest or quickest receiver around. But he is one of the tallest at 6 feet 5 and among the savviest. That's how he caught 51 passes for the Giants in 2001, and averaged 24.6 yards on eight postseason catches in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Super Bowl run after the 2002 season.

"It's being smart," he said when asked the key to producing as the slot receiver. "It's knowing where you have to be and knowing the quarterback's tendencies. I know how to use my body, and I think that's why I've been able to work well or adjust well to being in the middle."

Jurevicius has shown enough in the Seahawks minicamps that coach Mike Holmgren is comfortable moving productive slot receiver Bobby Engram into the split end spot that opened when Koren Robinson was released. Engram and Jurevicius were teammates at Penn State.

"Joe has shown a really good ability to work inside," Holmgren said. "I think he has real strengths in there. He is a big target. He has a good feel, good hands. That is where I see his real value."

It all starts with catching the ball.

HAWK TALK: Leave it to QB coach Jim Zorn to come up with an innovative drill. Yesterday, the quarterbacks were playing dodge ball -- with a ridiculously oversized ball -- so the passer in the middle of the group could work on his quickness in the pocket. ... The Seahawks picked up two injury replacement players from NFL Europe -- tight end Brock Edwards and offensive lineman William Henry -- because cornerback Kevin House and tight end Tony Donald were injured while playing in the spring league. ...

06-16-2005, 10:25 PM
The Seahawks picked up two injury replacement players from NFL Europe -- tight end Brock Edwards and offensive lineman William Henry -- because cornerback Kevin House and tight end Tony Donald were injured while playing in the spring league. ...

didnt brock edwards used to be one of our guys? i know house was

06-16-2005, 10:51 PM
Brock Edwards was with the Chargers last year. Practice squad mostly, I think.

Good blocker, average to below average pass catcher. He had a decent season in NFLE.

06-17-2005, 06:56 PM

Less than two weeks after one arrest warrant for Giants WR Plaxico Burress was rescinded, another was issued when he failed to appear in a Virginia Beach court on Wednesday for a hearing regarding a reckless driving charge. Burress received a ticket on May 29 for improper passing and signed the summons to appear in court earlier this week.

According to a clerk at the Virginia Beach General District Court, Burress has 10 days to turn himself in before authorities begin searching for him. As of late yesterday afternoon, he had not done so. The Giants and Burress' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, had no comment on the situation.

Burress, who was arrested and charged with public intoxication in Virginia three years ago, had been served with a warrant for unpaid taxes by a Moon Twp., Pa. judge late last month. The former Steeler, who signed with the Giants as a free agent in March, was cleared on June 1 when he provided the proper paperwork to show he had paid his taxes in full.

WR Hakim won't sign with Chiefs


Free agent wide receiver Az-Zahir Hakim will not sign with the Kansas City Chiefs, coach Dick Vermeil said Friday.

The Chiefs said earlier this week that they had reached agreement on a one-year contract with Hakim, who played for Vermeil when the St. Louis Rams won the Super Bowl six years ago.

Hakim and his agent felt the wide receiver would fit in better somewhere else, Vermeil said.

"I was little disappointed, but I understand," Vermeil said. "That's just the nature of this game. You can't have everything you want."

The Chiefs have not committed to bringing in another receiver, Vermeil said, but have been in contact with former Eagles wideout Freddie Mitchell.

Hakim, released by the Detroit Lions in April, had not signed a contract with Kansas City.

"We had agreements, but we kept thinking about it," Vermeil said. "It wasn't the best opportunity for Az, and I'm happy for him."

Titans let Schulters go due to cap


Lance Schulters had braced himself for the news, but when he heard it he still wasn't sure how to react.

The Titans officially released the veteran safety yesterday, finally admitting they wanted to go in another direction at the position. The fact that Schulters would have made a sizable dent in the team's salary cap didn't help matters.

"I haven't been in this situation before. I have never been fired before,'' said Schulters, who left his first NFL team, the 49ers, to sign with the Titans as a free agent in 2002.

"I chose to leave San Francisco when I left. At this point I am dealing with being fired for the first time in my life and that's weird. They call it a release or being waived or something, but they fired me."

Schulters is the seventh veteran of note to be waived by the Titans since the end of last season, joining February cuts Samari Rolle, Kevin Carter, Derrick Mason, Fred Miller, Joe Nedney and Robert Holcombe.

The Titans paid Schulters a $250,000 roster bonus in March, but wanted him to take a significant pay cut from his scheduled 2005 salary of $2.75 million. His agent, Brian Levy, made one final proposal to the Titans on Wednesday.

"This is a case where we are continuing to deal with the salary cap issues that were primarily addressed in February, and we were unable to find a deal that was agreeable for both sides," Titans General Manager Floyd Reese said. "We wish him the best and realize he still has some quality football ahead of him, but we are committed to getting through our cap difficulties this year."

By waiting until after June 1 to release Schulters, the Titans will be able to spread his charges against the salary cap over the next two seasons instead of taking all the hit this season.

Veteran Lamont Thompson, who filled in for the injured Schulters much of last season, will start at free safety this fall.

"I felt the direction the team was going in, my salary, the way it was and Lamont having a good year, I'm sure they figured he could play the position for way cheaper than I could,'' Schulters said. "After everything, I'm sad to see it had to end. I wanted to stay."

Schulters had 35 starts, 192 tackles and six interceptions in three seasons with the Titans. He was an emotional leader, popular with his teammates, and wasn't afraid to stir things up on the field or with the media.

Yesterday he challenged fourth-year pro Tank Williams, who will start at strong safety when he returns from a knee injury, to become that guy.

"He has to be more of that vocal leader,'' Schulters said. "He is a quiet guy and he really didn't talk a lot in the three years that I was there with him, but I think that is because I was there and I was that vocal guy so he really didn't need to.

"Now that I am gone, he is the elder statesman in the defensive backs room and he has to take control of that group and put guys in place when he has to. I know he can do it."

The release of Schulters leaves the Titans with little depth at safety. Donnie Nickey has been working at strong safety in minicamp, but another safety, Justin Sandy, is out with an injury.

Vann McElroy, the agent for veteran safety Reggie Tongue, who was released Wednesday by the Jets, said he planned on calling Reese last night.

Another McElroy client, safety Rich Coady, is also a possibility for the Titans if he's released by the Falcons. Coady played for the Titans in 2002.

The Falcons, Lions, Cowboys and 49ers are among the teams expected to show some interest in Schulters. But today he plans on cleaning out his locker at Baptist Sports Park and saying goodbye to his teammates, particularly linebacker Keith Bulluck, cornerback Tony Beckham and Williams.

Eagles Notes | Birds to talk to USC player


The Eagles have a meeting scheduled today at the NovaCare Complex with Manuel Wright, a defensive tackle from Southern California who will be available in the NFL's supplemental draft on July 14.

Wright, 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds, was a teammate of Eagles' first-round pick Mike Patterson at USC. He was primarily a reserve the last two seasons and was expected to be a starter in 2005, but was declared academically ineligible.

After learning he would not be able to play for the Trojans, he decided to make the jump to the NFL. Wright has a workout scheduled early next month for all NFL teams and also has visits with Cincinnati and Miami planned in the next week.

Wright was projected by some as a third-round draft pick. Any team that takes Wright in the supplemental draft will lose its pick in that same round next April.

06-17-2005, 07:08 PM
New Vikings owner buying up land, putting his family in charge


New Minnesota Vikings lead owner Zygmunt Wilf said Thursday he is close to completing land purchases for new Twin Cities residential and commercial projects, the strong suit of his family real estate companies.

Some of the buys will be stadium-related, but others will be independent of a stadium site, the Springfield, N.J., developer told reporters three days after he and his partners officially took over the team.

"That's what I do. I buy land,'' said Wilf, who runs a large development business in the East under the names Garden Homes and Garden Commercial Properties. "I'm working on different spots.''

A source close to the deals said much of the property is in Blaine, where Anoka County officials are proposing a Vikings stadium as the jewel in a commercial and residential setting. Wilf also is looking at possible land purchases in Lino Lakes, either for a stadium or other development, the source said.

On the field, Wilf promised, the Vikings no longer will spend less for players than most of their competitors.

"We were very enthusiastic to make sure that we did what we can to spend the money, under the existing (salary) cap rules,'' Wilf said of recent player acquisitions. "We felt that we didn't want to leave anything on the table.''

During the seven-year tenure of his predecessor, Billy Joe "Red" McCombs of San Antonio, the Vikings usually spent the minimum required by the National Football League and rarely pushed the league salary cap.

McCombs also issued occasional veiled threats to move the team to Los Angeles. Wilf emphasized Thursday — more strongly than ever — that the Vikings will be in Minnesota for a long time, new stadium or no new stadium.

"If we're stuck in the Metrodome, we're stuck in the Metrodome,'' he said. "We will be in the Twin Cities area forever.''

Again, the comment stands in contrast to McCombs, who wanted the state Legislature to help him finance a new stadium.

"You'll be seeing my face, my brother's face or my son's face for many years to come,'' Wilf said, adding later in an interview: "This will be a multigenerational endeavor. This will assure the classic tradition of the Vikings will continue for many years to come.''

The Vikings have been trying unsuccessfully for years to win public financing for a new stadium and almost certainly will fail again this year. McCombs reiterated his frustration over the stadium issue before selling the team to Wilf and partners, whose purchase for $600 million was completed Monday night.

If lawmakers can settle their dispute over the state budget during the current special session of the Legislature, an interim agency might be created to study the stadium matter before the 2006 session opens. That could happen through passage of a Vikings bill, or as a rider to a stadium construction bill for the Minnesota Twins.

Wilf also fleshed out some important boardroom and housekeeping matters with the Vikings. He said he will be the Vikings' chairman of the board, with his cousin Leonard Wilf serving as vice chairman and Zygi's brother Mark taking the position of team president. Zygi's son, Jonathan, is a college student who presumably will enter the hierarchy at some point.

The Wilfs own more than 50 percent of the team, Zygi said, with the rest split among Reggie Fowler of Chandler, Ariz., and New Jerseyites David Mandelbaum and Alan Landis. All are land developers, a key factor in the planning of a new stadium.

Wilf also announced that Kevin Warren, Fowler's attorney and a former executive with the Detroit Lions and St. Louis Rams, will move to Wayzata from Phoenix to become vice president of operations and legal counsel. Lester Bagley, formerly the team's chief lobbyist on a contract basis, was appointed vice president of public affairs and stadium development.

The new owner retained Rob Brzezinski, Steve LaCroix and Steve Poppen as vice presidents of football operations, sales and marketing, and finance, respectively.

As for head coach Mike Tice, Wilf applauded his role in building the team, but he indicated he would not give Tice, whose contract expires after the upcoming season, an extension in the near future. Wilf will wait until he fully evaluates the team, he said.

But Wilf said he's considering several projects of interest to employees — which were long ignored by the former owner. Among them: installing air conditioning in the locker room at Winter Park and refurbishing the dilapidated ship at the entrance, which can be viewed from Interstate 494.

The actions would be part of his stated credo to build a family environment.

"I certainly can bring on a feeling of family to the team, and treat everybody and reach out to everybody on a personal level, so that I can help them in whatever way possible, to take care of some of the personal needs that they might come across, so they can concentrate on the business of football,'' he said.

A 'fair' warning to disgruntled players


Adam Schefter's "Around the League" reports and commentaries can be seen regularly on NFL Total Access.

(June 16, 2005) -- We've heard over and over -- mostly from Terrell Owens' super agent, Drew Rosenhaus -- how an NFL player's contract is not guaranteed, how a team can cut him at any point in the deal, how it's just not fair.

And maybe it's not.

But then, neither is this: There are an equal number of players who sign huge deals, never live up to them, and do not ever offer to rebate any of that money.

When Ryan Leaf crashed and burned, did he rebate any portion of the $11.25 million signing bonus that the Chargers awarded him before he played a down?

How about Cincinnati's former No. 1 draft choice, Akili Smith? When he failed to live up to his potential, how much of his $10.8 million signing bonus did he rebate to the Bengals? Any?

And has Ricky Williams paid back the $8.6 million in bonuses that an independent arbitrator ruled that he owed the Dolphins after he walked out on Miami before last season?

Other than former Cleveland left tackle Ross Verba and former Detroit running back Barry Sanders, players do not usually fumble away cash to their former employer.

And teams generally do not bestow new contracts on players who have six years remaining on deals they signed only one year ago, like T.O. did.

These are the rules and the rules, like William "The Refrigerator" Perry in his prime for the Chicago Bears, go both ways.

Some players outperform their contracts. Some never perform up to them. And the majority fall right smack in the middle -- earning exactly what they should for their football services.

Some agents, especially those publicly pushing for new deals, love to point out that football is the only sport in which the contracts aren't guaranteed. Right again. But there is a notable omission to that little factoid. The signing bonuses in them are.

When a player lands a monster one, as Michael Vick or Peyton Manning did, it makes that player virtually uncutable and untradable. They have a guarantee that not only are they set for life, but they're not going anywhere anytime soon.

With T.O. wanting a new deal in Philly, with Javon Walker wanting one in Green Bay, with even Sean Taylor wanting one in Washington, we keep hearing how there are no guaranteed contracts for players. True, but there also are no money-back guarantees from the players, either.

It's the system. Like life, it isn't always fair.

Steussie Absent From OTAs


Tampa Bay needs to create a significant amount of salary cap room in order to sign its 12 draft picks next month, and the Buccaneers could make some progress in that area before the start of next week’s three-day mandatory mini-camp.

PewterReport.com has learned that Bucs tackle Todd Steussie, who has long been rumored to be a salary cap casualty after June 1, has not participated at the team’s organized team activity workouts over the past two weeks. With the Bucs having close to 100 percent participation during their voluntary OTAs, Steussie’s absence suggests he may not be a Buc much longer.

Steussie, who was signed to a six-year, $20 million contract during the 2004 offseason, started the season at right tackle but struggled making the transition from the left side, where he had spent his first 10 years in the NFL. In Week 5, the 6-foot-6, 320-pound Steussie was benched in favor of Kenyatta Walker.

In addition to his struggles on the field, Steussie has had to deal with steroid allegations this offseason. When he participated at Tampa Bay’s OTAs earlier this offseason, Steussie thanked the Bucs for their support but couldn’t comment much further due to the ongoing investigation.

Tampa Bay’s rookie salary cap pool this year has been set at $6,037,440. Presently, the Bucs are approximately $1.25 million under the 2005 salary cap, and need to free up just over $5 million in order to sign the team’s 12 draft picks.

The Bucs would get about $2 million in cap relief by releasing Steussie, who is scheduled to have a cap value of $2.666 million in ‘05. However, the team would still need to create about $3 million in order to sign all of its draft selections.

Other possible cap casualties include running back Charlie Garner, guard Matt Stinchcomb and T Kenyatta Walker.

06-17-2005, 08:42 PM
Pastabelli column (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/columns/story?columnist=pasquarelli_len&id=2088145)

Only Chargers, Bengals project same starting five

Nothing has been more constant in the NFL, particularly during the era of free agency, than lack of constancy. And over the past 12 seasons, a stretch defined by wholesale player movement and the salary cap, nowhere have the effects been more adversely profound than on the offensive line.

Consider this: Based on the best projections available, only two franchises (Cincinnati and San Diego) figure to have the same starting line in 2005, with all five players in the same positions, as they had for the majority of 2004. The projections also indicate there will be 63 new offensive line starters in '05 – either newcomers to teams or holdovers playing at new positions, an average just shy of two per franchise.

For an area of the game where success historically has been based on continuity, those are sobering numbers. They are, however, consistent with the trend of recent seasons. In the last six years, no more than three offensive lines have returned intact from one season to the next. And the average number of new line starters per team has held at between 1.85 and 2.2 in that period.

The result has been a dropoff in offensive line play. Another result: Standout offensive line coaches, assistants who can adapt to change and who have demonstrated a knack for being able to cobble together solid starting quintets even in a revolving-door situation, have lately become hot commodities.

There was a time when offensive line coaches were about as anonymous as their charges. That time, though, has passed. So when line coaches such as Hudson Houck become available, as he did this spring when his contract with the Chargers expired, they now have plenty of options.

"Let's just say," Miami Dolphins first-year coach Nick Saban said, "that I was going to do just about anything I had to do to get (Houck) here. It's a (coaching) position where I always felt it was critical to have a really top guy. And the way the league is now, with the faces on your line changing so much, it's more important than ever."

Saban won the recruiting war for Houck, 62, a 22-year league veteran whose past stops have included the Rams, Seahawks, Cowboys and Chargers. Coming off an '04 season in which the Miami line seemed in disarray every week, Saban had to have Houck, and he paid him one of the highest salaries in the league for a line coach (about $750,000-$800,000 annually) to get him.

That's the upside for the NFL's top offensive line mentors. As their profile finally has increased, so have their salaries. The line spot has, in the past five seasons, gone from one that was traditionally among the lowest-paid on a staff to one of the more lucrative ones. There is now an elite subset of offensive line coaches earning the level of salaries once reserved only for coordinators. But, again, those salaries reflect the importance of the task.

"You're basically saying to (your offensive line coach) every summer in camp, 'OK, let's see you put Humpty Dumpty back together again.' Because of all the turnover, the churning almost every year on your line, that's what it's become," Saints coach Jim Haslett said. "So you better have a guy who isn't going to ***** about having two new starters, who can keep things as simple as possible, and meld people together. Look at what some teams are willing to pay now for great (offensive line) coaches. The best ones, hell, yeah, they are worth every cent of it, given what you're asking them to do."

This season, with 63 projected offensive line changes in starting lineups, is typical of what has transpired because of free agency and the salary cap. The rate of offensive line attrition has increased exponentially. Linemen have been able to parlay free agency into big contracts. And since teams are so intent now on retaining their left tackles – the key spot on virtually every line, one that now receives "skill position" status and much larger salaries – they often fill in at other line spots with lesser players, some of whom change year to year.

Before free agency, and barring injuries, line units were more like fraternities. Quintets stayed together for a long time and teams stressed continuity. That kind of longevity now has gone the way of the flying wedge and the single wing formation now.

Case in point: The Green Bay offensive line, quietly one of the NFL's top units for the past five seasons, had remained intact over that stretch, except for injuries. This spring, though, the Packers lost starting guards Mike Wahle and Marco Rivera to free agency because they couldn't afford to keep them. The team rewarded left tackle Chad Clifton with a fat new contract two years ago and wants to be able to keep right tackle Mark Tauscher, too.

In the NFL now, the rule of thumb is that you pay the tackles and pray that you can develop guards, and so the Green Bay unit was rent asunder. So offensive line coach Larry Beightol, one of the league's best, will have to quickly identify the two best guards from among a group of four or five candidates, and assimilate the new starters into the lineup.

It's a job where, if he succeeds, few fans will even notice. If he fails, and Brett Favre is running for his life early in the season, Beightol will probably come under fire.

Of course, Beightol isn't the only offensive line coach facing such a task this summer.

Houck, who somehow transformed the San Diego line from dubious to dutiful in 2004, and did so while starting a pair of rookies, might face an even more daunting proposition with the Dolphins, who could have as many as three new starters. Houck has coached 11 linemen to a total of 43 Pro Bowl appearances, and put together lines that have blocked for six NFL rushing champions. But fashioning the Dolphins' assemblage into a workable unit is a formidable task.

If Pro Bowl center Jeremy Newberry can't play because of knee surgery, George Warhop and the 49ers may have just one holdover starter in the same spot as a season ago. Carolina line coach Mike Maser will undertake a second straight major reshuffling of his charges. Highly regarded Steelers line coach Russ Grimm will have an entirely new right side. Buffalo's Jim "Mouse" McNally, renowned for his ability to turn chicken feathers into chicken salad during a long and distinguished career, has to replace the left side of the Bills' line sufficiently enough to give first-year starting quarterback J.P. Losman a shot to succeed.

Around the league, there are similar stories. The latest lineup projections show that 10 teams in 2005 will have at least three new offensive line starters each. Only 10 teams are projected to have fewer than two changes from their 2004 lineups.

There are even clubs where just one move is so critical – like with the New York Jets, where second-year veteran Adrian Jones is the new man at right tackle, despite having started zero games as a rookie in '04 – that it will be closely scrutinized. And where a fairly anonymous assistant like offensive line coach Doug Marrone, the man charged with preparing Jones for a starting role, is suddenly under the microscope, too.

Like the men they coach, offensive line assistants were once anonymous grunts, but their new importance has increased their profile. Some of the best line coaches – such as Mike Solari (Kansas City), Dante Scarnecchia (New England) and Juan Castillo (Philadelphia) – remain somewhat unknown, but that is in part by choice. The wonderful Scarnecchia, for instance, approaches the limelight like Dracula embraces sunlight.

But the importance of the job, one head coach recently opined, has also raised the level of the craft. That the overall quality of offensive line play has diminished is more a function of the turnover at the position than it is the caliber of coaching.

"Even when I was in the college game, on the outside looking in, I thought there were some great (offensive line) coaches in the league," Saban said. "And I think if you are going to succeed, you'd better have one of them."

06-18-2005, 03:47 PM
Freddi mitchell signs with KC Chiefs.....bwahahaha!!!

06-18-2005, 07:05 PM

Starting quarterback Trent Green was again grounded during the first day of Chiefs minicamp Friday. Green was limited to drills that didn’t require any throwing.

Green said he was experiencing no soreness in his passing arm and indicated the Chiefs are just being cautious.

“Sometimes I get a little overzealous in my preparation,” he said. “I’ve been throwing and working out since the Monday after the Pro Bowl. That probably wasn’t the smartest thing on my part in terms of how long the offseason is. Some of the coaches and some of the trainers and everybody saw the way I was working and said: ‘You know what? You’re going to kill yourself before you even get to training camp.’

“They think it’s in my best interest to pull back. I feel good. It’s more just them seeing my eagerness and trying to keep me in check. I understand it. I don’t like it, but I understand it. It’s probably smart.”

The grounding took on almost comical proportions during an individual drill in which quarterbacks work on their footwork while setting up for a pass. The Chiefs took a ball away from Green to prevent him from cutting loose with a throw.

Hakim departing; Warfield not starting
Cornerback demoted at Chiefs camp


Waiting for news of a possible suspension is no longer the hardest part of coming to work for Chiefs cornerback Eric Warfield.

He’s now also dealing with his demotion from the starting lineup. Julian Battle was in Warfield’s starting spot Friday at the first day of minicamp at the Truman Sports Complex practice facility.

Warfield was relegated to the second team, teamed at cornerback not with two-time Pro Bowler Patrick Surtain but Justin Perkins, a rookie free agent.

The situation was so odd that Warfield was approached early in practice by defensive lineman John Browning.

“He was shocked,” Warfield said. “He thought I was hurt or something.”

The Chiefs say they are only taking a long look at Battle in case Warfield is suspended by the NFL for the first four games of the season, as they expect.

“We have to make sure we are covered if he gets suspended for a while,” coach Dick Vermeil said. “So we’ve got to get somebody ready to play. That’s holding him back a little bit. But he has enough experience and work behind him to catch right up.”

Warfield faces the possible suspension for violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. Warfield pleaded no contest in January to driving under the influence of alcohol. The Overland Park incident was the third time in three years Warfield was charged with DUI in Johnson County.

The demotion is probably temporary, but Warfield acknowledged being confused by the timing. It happened last week with, Warfield said, no warning from Vermeil, defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham or secondary coach Peter Giunta.

His only inkling came during a meeting last week when Cunningham approached Battle. In front of the rest of the defensive players, Warfield included, Cunningham told Battle, “I want you to take his starting spot.”

A startled Warfield began to think the demotion was a prelude to his release. His $3.3 million base salary is hardly prohibitive for the Chiefs but still makes him an inviting target.

“I took (Cunningham’s statement to Battle) as a motivational deal for me,” Warfield said. “I don’t know what else he could have meant by that. I thought there was some animosity towards me, maybe because of what I had done.”

Despite the demotion and possible suspension, Warfield is not expendable. He was by far their best cornerback last season.

They traded with Miami for Surtain as their No. 1 cornerback, but without Warfield they have no reliable partner. Battle struggled all of last season, William Bartee is now a safety and the Chiefs appear determined to leave Dexter McCleon at nickel back because of his size.

Warfield has since been comforted by a recent meeting with Giunta, who told him not to despair.

“I know my talents,” Warfield said. “I’m not going to say that my spot is guaranteed or locked down. At first, I thought I might get cut because nobody said anything to me. After that meeting with Giunta, I’ve come to understand a little better what’s going on.”

“Nobody knows exactly what’s going to happen with me. I guess they’ve got to figure out what to do if I’m not here. They’ve got to make sure somebody else is ready. I don’t have a problem with that.”

That doesn’t lessen the sting from his demotion. It just hurts a little more when a teammate like Browning asks about it.

He’s not playing with the second team for normal reasons. It’s all because he might not be around for the Sept. 11 season opener against the Jets at Arrowhead Stadium and perhaps beyond.

“I haven’t heard a thing (from the NFL),” Warfield said. “They haven’t told me what they’re thinking, what’s going on, what process the decision-makers are in. They’ve just got us waiting. That’s the worst part, to have to wait.

“Here we are at minicamp, and I have no clue or idea of what’s going on or whether there’s going to be a suspension or how many games. That’s a lot to think about.”

Police say Taylor will be prosecuted


Friday, June 17, 2005

The Miami-Dade state attorney intends to prosecute Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor, who recently was charged with a felony of aggravated assault with a firearm, police said Thursday.

Taylor, a former University of Miami football player, turned himself in to Miami-Dade police June 4 after he was charged with attacking a man he said stole his all-terrain vehicle.

According to the police report, Taylor drove up to two men in his car, pointed a gun at them and demanded to know where his ATV was.

Taylor left, according to the report, but returned about 10 minutes later and jumped one of the men. One of Taylor's associates allegedly chased the other man with a baseball bat.

The state attorney's office told police it believes there is sufficient evidence to prosecute Taylor, Miami-Dade Detective Mary Walters said.

State attorney spokesman Ed Griffith said the office will not announce its plans until Taylor's arraignment June 24.

Police still are investigating Taylor's claim that shots were fired at his car in retaliation, Walters said.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that Taylor hired a new attorney, Edward Carhart, a Miami defense lawyer and former prosecutor, to defend him.

06-18-2005, 07:15 PM

OWINGS MILLS - Imparting a message of maintaining discipline, Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick emphasized using the next six weeks until training camp as a working vacation before dismissing his players for the summer.

As a caravan of sport utility vehicles exited the training complex Thursday, conditioning, rehabilitation and studying the playbook were the chief watchwords.

"The next six weeks are very important, and they understand that," said Billick, whose team reassembles July 31 at McDaniel College for training camp. "Each player has a specific time frame and plan about what they're going to do between now and training camp. But keep in mind they need some time away from the game.

"The advances they've made in the last six weeks can be matched in the next six weeks. Our veterans understand that. There are some young players that can impact this team that have to learn what that's about. Hopefully, they got the message."

For injured players like tight end Todd Heap, who is rehabbing after ankle and shoulder surgery, there's little time to relax.

As one of a handful of players Billick mentioned as a candidate for the physically unable to perform list when camp starts along with running backs Jamal Lewis (ankle) and Musa Smith (leg) and nickel back Deion Sanders (toe), Heap is intent on accelerating his recovery.

"I don't have a lot of days to waste so I'm trying to make sure every day counts," said Heap. "In six weeks we'll get to camp, so use that time wisely to not only get your rest, but get your body prepared for the season."

Rookie wide receiver Mark Clayton will be receiving specialized treatment, including deep-tissue massages, for his nagging hamstring strain. He said it's his first hamstring injury, so he wants to be careful with it.

Clayton said he has given his agent specific instructions to avoid a contract holdout.

"Without a doubt, I'm going to be here on time," he said. "This is a very veteran team, and I don't want to set myself back or hold the team back. I don't want to rock the boat."

Players supplement the team's conditioning program with their own workout rituals. Right guard Keydrick Vincent takes an "old-school, Rocky," approach to training. He works out with a trainer in a sandpit, performing strenuous drills he calls his secret to improving his leg drive.

"It's a hard-core regimen that helps me a lot, but I'm not looking forward to it," he said. "It hurts, but it works."

For some veterans like center Mike Flynn, relaxation is a priority. Rookies like outside linebacker Dan Cody must attend the NFL's rookie symposium in Los Angeles.

Players said the bitter taste of last season's 9-7 campaign that fell short of the playoffs will be on their minds.

"We feel like we have a lot to prove this year," Heap said. "Last year, we really didn't meet our expectations. We didn't make it to the playoffs, so that's our main focus now."

NOTES: Lawyers representing Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs in his felony aggravated assault trial in Arizona plan to call character witnesses, including Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome, to support their case. Court officials said the trial is likely to conclude June 30. "This is a good young man," Billick said. "The circumstance he found himself in was one that was somewhat out of his control." ... The Ravens are sending personnel to visit Lewis in Atlanta as he serves two months in a halfway house. "It sounds like the environment he's in is excellent for rehab and getting into shape," Billick said. ... Billick indicated that cornerbacks Samari Rolle (hamstring) and Dale Carter (leg) aren't question marks for training camp.

06-19-2005, 05:20 PM
8 questions to ponder the state of the '05 squad


Their offseason group workouts are over, and the Carolina Panthers don't report to training camp until July 29. They might be relaxing, but it's never too early to start thinking about the coming season. With that in mind, here are eight questions that could determine if the Panthers will be similar to the 7-9 team they were last year or the Super Bowl team they were in 2003:

Q. Is Travelle Wharton the answer at left tackle? The coaching staff believes so. There might be some growing pains, but the belief is that Wharton is athletic enough to eventually handle elite pass rushers.

Wharton's learning process should be made easier by the arrival of veteran left guard Mike Whale. If Wharton is at least adequate, the line should be a lot more balanced than last year, when the team had to compensate for Matt Willig at right tackle. That spot should be filled nicely by Jordan Gross, who is moving from the left side.

Q. Who's going to be the featured running back? The plan is to open the season with DeShaun Foster, and that could make the offense a little more interesting than in recent seasons. Foster has the speed to do some outside running. However, questions remain about his durability and history of fumbling.

Foster might not be a 30-carry-a-game back, but he needs to show he can handle 20 touches. If that's a problem, rookie Eric Shelton isn't a bad option, and the team hopes former feature back Stephen Davis can fully recover from knee surgery.

Q. Will the Panthers miss Muhsin Muhammad ? Despite his huge numbers last season, the Panthers might not miss Muhammad as much as some might think. He stepped into the role of No. 1 receiver because Steve Smith was injured. Smith is healthy and should put up strong numbers, and Keary Colbert on the other side should be improved after a solid rookie season.

Q. Who is the No. 3 receiver? He might not be on the roster yet. The Panthers wanted to draft a receiver, but the right player wasn't available at the right time. The free agent market didn't produce any solutions.

Veteran Ricky Proehl remains solid and will get a lot of time in three-receiver sets. But Proehl is 37, and the Panthers don't want to use him as an every-down player if Smith or Colbert gets hurt.

Drew Carter has shown some promise in the offseason but is unproven. Maybe the Redskins will release or trade Rod Gardner, or maybe the Panthers will have to keep a close eye on the waiver wire in late August.

Q. Who will replace Todd Sauerbrun? Nobody can replace Sauerbrun off the field, and that's a good thing because it means less distractions. But his skills as a punter will be missed.

The Panthers basically have two options: Tom Rouen or Jason Baker. The team wouldn't mind if Baker won the job because he also can kick off. But Baker needs to show he can be consistent as a punter. Rouen doesn't have anything close to Sauerbrun's leg. But he's a veteran, and he doesn't have anything close to Sauerbrun's mouth. That could make him the safe choice.

Q. Is Chris Weinke ready to be the backup quarterback? Some believe Weinke should have been the backup ahead of Rodney Peete last season. Weinke has served his time, and there are moments when he looks spectacular in practice. He believes he can start in the NFL. The best way to prove that is to secure the backup job, get some playing time and show what he's got because his contract is up after this upcoming season.

Q. Will rookie Thomas Davis play safety or linebacker? How about both? Davis is such a good athlete, he can be used at both positions. He could start at strong safety and push Mike Minter to free safety. Davis also could line up at linebacker in the nickel package because he has the size of a linebacker and the coverage skills of a defensive back.

Q. Can Mike Rucker rebound to his Pro Bowl form of 2003? It would be surprising if he didn't. The reason Rucker's numbers fell dramatically last year was because he didn't have Kris Jenkins next to him. With Jenkins back and healthy (and Julius Peppers on the other end), Rucker won't see nearly as much blocking.

Hakim agrees to one-year deal
Saints expecting to sign veteran receiver in coming few days


The Saints have verbally agreed to a one-year contract with free-agent receiver Az-Zahir Hakim and plan to finalize the deal Monday or Tuesday, according to General Manager Mickey Loomis and Hakim's agent, Bruce Tollner.

The amount of money was not disclosed. But on Friday, Kansas City Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil indicated that the Saints offered Hakim a better deal than the Chiefs, who were offering close to the veteran minimum.

"It's a better opportunity," Tollner responded, when asked if Vermeil was accurate. "He had two good opportunities, and he felt like New Orleans was the best fit."

Hakim, 28, is expected to compete with second-year player Devery Henderson, among others, to be the Saints' third receiver. The Saints have been looking to add a veteran receiver for several weeks, having let Jerome Pathon go after last season.

Hakim had agreed to a contract with the Chiefs last week and even practiced with the team, but the deal fell through.

Hakim visited the Saints before going to Kansas City, and Tollner said Hakim "continued to evaluate his opportunities" last week.

Loomis said he assumed Hakim would sign with the Chiefs, but when the deal fell through, "he called us back and asked if we were still interested, and we said yes."

Loomis declined further comment on Hakim until the deal is completed. Hakim, who is at home in Southern California, was not available for comment.

Hakim, 5 feet 10, 189 pounds, has been mostly a No. 3 receiver in his seven years with the St. Louis Rams and Detroit Lions, averaging 40 catches, 550 yards and four touchdowns over the past six seasons.

He put up his best numbers in 1999 and 2000, stretching the field for the Rams' potent offense. He also has returned punts for most of his career.

The Lions made Hakim a starter after signing him as a free agent in 2002, but a dislocated hip limited him to 10 games that season. He started 12 games in 2003 and five last season, missing four games with back, hip and finger injuries.

Detroit released him after this year's draft, in which they selected receiver Mike Williams in the first round. Hakim was scheduled to make $2.5 million this year.

Chiefs CB Battle tears Achilles' tendon


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (June 19, 2005) -- Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Julian Battle will miss the upcoming season with a torn left Achilles'

Battle, who was working with the starters because of Eric Warfield's legal problems, was injured during a minicamp practice.

"He's going to be operated on," Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil said. "He popped his Achilles' tendon, and he's lost for the year."

Battle, a third-round draft pick out of Tennessee in 2003, has played in 26 games for the Chiefs. He made one start last season, as a fifth defensive back.

Vermeil put Battle at the top of the depth chart for the team's latest minicamp because the Chiefs expect the NFL to suspend Warfield for violating the league's drug and alcohol policy. Warfield pleaded no contest in January to one count of driving under the influence in Johnson County, Kan.

The charge was a felony because Warfield has two prior DUI convictions. He was sentenced in March to 10 days in jail and 80 days of house arrest.

If the NFL suspends Warfield, Vermeil said Dexter McCleon would be promoted to start alongside Patrick Surtain.

06-20-2005, 06:12 PM
Injury sidelines new starter for season


Suitcases rolled out of Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, veterans said their goodbyes, and coach Dick Vermeil gave his speech about how nobody wants to be the guy who loses his job because he spent a month on the couch with a bag of chips.

Summer vacation officially started late Sunday with the end of minicamp, but the mood wasn’t exactly festive. The Chiefs are now looking for a starting cornerback.

Vermeil said cornerback Julian Battle is out for the season because of a torn Achilles’ tendon. Battle, who had been elevated to the first team earlier this month, suffered the injury in Saturday’s workout and will undergo surgery on his left heel.

Battle’s injury leaves a big hole , which deepens with the uncertainty of Eric Warfield’s status. Warfield, the Chiefs’ best cornerback in 2004, was demoted to the second team in anticipation of a suspension from the NFL for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.

He could miss as many as four games, and it could come at the start of the season, when the Chiefs open with the New York Jets, Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos.
“We’re not going to panic,” Vermeil said. “I’m more concerned about (Battle) because he’s been here for two years, and he was just starting to find out what it takes to be a professional football player. It’s part of the game. It’s the rotten part of the game.”

Just a few days ago, Vermeil raved about the progress of the defense, which was overhauled with some key offseason acquisitions. One free agent the Chiefs took a pass on last spring was cornerback Ty Law.

Law is still on the market, but Vermeil said it was unclear whether the Chiefs would do any more defensive shopping. Money, undoubtedly, is the biggest issue. Both Vermeil and president/general manager Carl Peterson have said that the Chiefs used up most of their cap space on free agents and trades. On Saturday, they added veteran wide receiver Freddie Mitchell with a one-year contract that was believed to be at the league minimum.

“We’ll look,” Vermeil said. “But I don’t know what’s out there — and then we’ll also more deeply evaluate those young people we have. But we have time.”

If Warfield is suspended, Vermeil said veteran cornerback Dexter McCleon would likely be the starter who would pair with Pro Bowler Patrick Surtain. But McCleon hasn’t participated in offseason workouts because of injury, and the Chiefs had hoped to leave him at nickel back.

The backups have little or no experience . Second-year cornerback Benny Sapp played in 15 games last year, but the Chiefs’ two other possibilities – Justin Perkins and Alphonso Hodge – are rookies.

William Bartee, who moved from cornerback to safety, apparently isn’t an option, either. Vermeil said Bartee is doing such a good job at safety that he’d “hate to screw him up.”

“Dexter McCleon will be healthy and ready to go,” Vermeil said. “And we’ve got some other kids who are doing a good job. But all of that will be better evaluated and determined once we get to camp.”

Training camp starts July 28 in River Falls, Wis. Before Battle’s injury — and the uncertainty surrounding Warfield — Vermeil said he was confident the Chiefs filled all of their defensive needs in the offseason. Now he’ll wait until River Falls to see.


The Atlanta Falcons have advised wide receiver Peerless Price to step up his game or risk losing his starting job or even being cut. In two seasons since leaving the Buffalo Bills as a free agent, Price has 109 catches for 1,413 yards and 6 TDs. In his breakout 2002 season with Buffalo, he had 94 catches for 1,252 yards and 9 TDs. ... Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb scored another endorsement coup as the player on the cover of the 2006 edition of the popular NFL-licensed Madden video game. ... Pro Football Weekly's Mike Wilkening has an interesting suggestion: the Pro Football Hall of Fame's seniors committee should consider John Madden as a contributor, combining his excellent record for a decade as coach of the Oakland Raiders (112-39-7 plus one Super Bowl victory) and his award-winning work as a TV color analyst.

Browns sign QB insurance policy Johnson


CLEVELAND (June 20, 2005) -- Needing a veteran quarterback as protection for Trent Dilfer, the Cleveland Browns signed former Atlanta backup Doug Johnson to a one-year contract.

Johnson spent last season with Tennessee. He signed with the Falcons as an undrafted free agent in 2000 and made 11 starts in four seasons before being released and signed by Jacksonville.

The Browns also waived defensive lineman Larry Burt, defensive backs Charles Byrd and Justin Fraley, wide receivers Bradley Chavez and Bill Flowers and running back Adimchinobe Echemandu.

Dilfer, acquired in a March trade from Seattle, played in just 10 games the past two seasons for the Seahawks. Before they brought in Johnson, the Browns' only backups were Josh Harris, a second-year player, and Charlie Frye, a rookie drafted in April.

Johnson got his most playing time in 2003 when he appeared in 10 games -- eight starts -- for the Falcons while replacing an injured Michael Vick. He completed 136-of-243 passes for 1,655 yards and eight touchdowns with 12 interceptions.

Echemandu, who was selected in the seventh round of the 2004 draft, missed the first nine games last season with a leg injury. He had eight carries for 25 yards in four games.

06-21-2005, 05:37 PM
The Morton brothers both found new NFL homes Tuesday.


The San Francisco 49ers signed wide receiver Johnnie Morton to a two-year contract and the New England Patriots agreed to a one-year deal with kick-returner Chad Morton on Tuesday. Chad Morton's deal is worth $600,000 plus another possible $600,000 in incentives, according to ESPN.com's John Clayton.

Johnnie Morton, an 11-year veteran, was cut earlier this month by the Kansas City Chiefs, while brother Chad was cut by the Washington Redskins.

"Johnnie is our kind of guy." 49ers coach Mike Nolan said. "He is a hard-working professional who will be a great example to our young receivers."

Kansas City recently signed wide receiver Freddie Mitchell, who was released by the Eagles this offseason.

In three seasons with the Chiefs, Johnnie Morton, signed as an unrestricted free agent in 2002, caught 134 passes for 1,932 yards and eight touchdowns in 43 appearances that included 42 starts. His average numbers in a Kansas City uniform -- 44.7 catches, 644 yards and 2.7 touchdowns -- are hardly reflective of the productive career he has enjoyed. In 2004, Morton had 55 receptions for 795 yards and three scores.

The Redskins signed Chad Morton away from the New York Jets as a restricted free agent before the 2003 season, giving him a five-year, $8 million deal.

Chad Morton averaged 22.4 yards on 16 kickoff returns and 6.2 yards on 13 punt returns last season before damaging a ligament in his knee in an Oct. 31 game against the Green Bay Packers.

Johnnie Morton, who played his first eight NFL seasons in Detroit, was one of the league's most productive receivers over a five-year stretch with the Lions. Between 1997 and 2001, Morton averaged 73.4 catches, 1,031.2 yards and four scores.

Included in that stretch were four 1,000-yard seasons and also three campaigns in which Morton, one of the NFL's best receivers in terms of adding yards after the catch, had 75 or more receptions. His first season in Kansas City, though, produced just 29 receptions, and his tenure there was largely disappointing.

Crouch keeping in touch with Argos

TORONTO (CP) - Another NFL team has cut Eric Crouch, but the Toronto Argonauts continue to leave their door open to the former Heisman Trophy winner.


Bears sign second-round pick Bradley to five-year deal


LAKE FOREST, Ill. - The Bears on Tuesday signed second-round draft pick Mark Bradley to a five-year contract. Terms were not disclosed.

The speedy wide receiver from Oklahoma is just the 24th of 255 NFL draft picks to come to terms and the first who was selected in the first three rounds.

"It feels great just to know it's out of the way so I can go concentrate on getting into the flow of the offense," Bradley said.

The 6-1, 200-pounder didn't have gaudy statistics at Oklahoma, but his speed, athleticism and toughness earned him a ticket to Chicago as the 39th overall pick in the draft.

Bradley initially lined up at cornerback when he transferred to Oklahoma from Arkansas-Pine Bluff in 2002, but he moved back to his natural receiver position in 2003 despite the presence of four other NFL prospects.

Last season Bradley had 23 receptions for 491 yards and seven touchdowns while also excelling on special teams as a return man and gunner on the Sooners' punt coverage team.

The 23-year-old is eager to contribute as a rookie with the Bears.

"I'm confident enough to be able to make an immediate impact whether it's on special teams or offense," Bradley said. "Our offensive coordinator, Ron Turner, is talking about doing some special things for me and I feel great about it."

At Pine Bluff High School in Arkansas, Bradley lined up as a receiver, quarterback, defensive back, punt returner and kick returner. In track, he set the state high-jump record at 7'4" and broke the state meet record in the long jump at 24'7½".

Bradley initially stayed close to home, playing two years at Arkansas-Pine Bluff before transferring to Oklahoma, where his father, Danny, was a standout quarterback from 1981-84.

After sitting out in 2002 due to transfer rules, Bradley played his final two seasons with the Sooners. As a junior, he caught 11 passes for 194 yards and 2 touchdowns while averaging an eye-popping 35.3 yards on seven kick returns.

Bradley earned more playing time as a senior despite competing at receiver with NFL prospects Mark Clayton, Brandon Jones, Will Peoples and Travis Wilson.

Bradley has enjoyed his first few months with the Bears and is eager to be part of an improved offense.

"It's just a great opportunity for me to be out there with guys like Rex Grossman and Muhsin Muhammad," Bradley said. "I'm confident that I'm going to be out there helping the guys bring home victories."

Bradley is the second Bears draft pick to sign with the team following sixth-round safety Chris Harris. Four picks remain unsigned: First-round running back Cedric Benson, fourth-round quarterback Kyle Orton, fifth-round receiver Airese Currie and seventh-round linebacker Rod Wilson.

Contract extension is on Morgan's mind
Agent says he feels `sense of urgency'


With Carolina Panthers middle linebacker Dan Morgan entering the final year of his contract, his agent said Monday he feels "a sense of urgency" to get an extension negotiated.

The two sides have some distance to go to make that happen.

"Obviously we've talked several times and exchanged some proposals, but we're not close to getting a deal done at this point," said agent Drew Rosenhaus, hired by Morgan after a recent switch from Tom Condon.

"There is a sense of urgency at this point; anytime a player is entering the last year of his contract, there is a sense of urgency," Rosenhaus said. "You try to get a deal done before training camp, because once that starts, the player's tendency is to focus more on football.

"So this is definitely a very important time because you don't want to miss that window of opportunity."

Training camp will begin July 29 at Wofford in Spartanburg.

Asked about Rosenhaus' comments, Carolina general manager Marty Hurney said, "We're just talking. We don't comment on negotiations."

Making it more difficult for the Panthers is the fact that Will Witherspoon, the team's starting weakside linebacker and another highly thought-of young player, is also in the final year of his contract.

Combining base salary and his workout bonus, Morgan will make $919,000 this season. He will count just over $2 million against the salary cap. The latter figure is higher because Morgan's original signing bonus is spread over the length of the contract.

Rosenhaus is likely seeking a deal worth between $3 million and $4 million annually for his client, according to league sources.

Morgan, the team's top draft pick in 2001 and a key member of the defense, has battled injuries in recent seasons, but made the Pro Bowl last season. He said during this month's voluntary workouts he was concentrating on football, not finances.

"We'll see what happens; it's up to (the Panthers) what they want to do," he said. "All I can do is control my own destiny, and that's go out there and play football, and whatever's going to happen is going to happen."

Morgan, though, made it clear he hopes to remain a Panther, and Rosenhaus reiterated that.

"Dan very much wants to stay with the Panthers; that's one of the goals," he said. "But I've seen a lot of great players decide to move on once they get into free agency; I've represented a number of them, players like Jevon Kearse and Warren Sapp."

Morgan would be a free agent after this season if no agreement is reached.

06-21-2005, 05:41 PM
The Pats signed Dwight and Morton as return men???

06-21-2005, 05:57 PM

ASHBURN, Va. (June 21, 2005) -- Washington Redskins safety Andre Lott has a hairline fracture just below his knee, although the team expects him to be ready for training camp.

Lott hyperextended the knee during minicamp over the weekend, and tests detected the fracture. He'll be on crutches for four weeks, then will have two weeks to prepare for the start of training camp on Aug. 31.

Lott played in four games last year before tearing a pectoral muscle in a loss to Green Bay, ending his season. He re-signed with the Redskins as a restricted free agent in April.

Bills take a gamble, and it's a Gandy


The Buffalo Bills concluded their final organized team activity last week with Plan A for the offensive line still intact. Mike Gandy remains their starter at left tackle in the hope that the trash of one franchise evolves into the treasure of another.
Gambling on Gandy qualifies as one of the bolder risks of the Tom Donahoe era given the importance of the position, the presence of an untested quarterback and the impatience of a playoff-starved fan base. Gandy wowed no one during four seasons with Chicago, which released him in November convinced he'd never make a suitable transition from Notre Dame guard to pro left tackle.

There are two means of assessing Gandy's time with the Bears. Either he flat-out failed in his effort to secure the job, or his development was hindered by the instabilities of an organization in flux. The factor of circumstance should never be dismissed, and the Bears weren't exactly the epitome of continuity during his tenure, either on the line or at quarterback, running back or receiver. Gandy was plugged in at tackle out of necessity and asked to acclimate himself to the tumult in a rush.

"There's just a lot of things when I was in Chicago I was learning on the fly," Gandy said last week. "I just didn't have the experience of doing things, so when I saw something new it was in the middle of a game, you don't really have a chance to (instantly) learn from it. But I've learned from it, I've grown. The year and a half I played tackle I felt I was better toward the end of the year than I was at the beginning of the year."

Organized team activities, conducted without pads and without full contact, are an insufficient arena when it comes to grading a player in his entirety. What the Bills know about Gandy to this point is that he's a quick study with a firm grasp of responsibility in the theoretical sense.

"He's come in here and he's re-found himself and he's working hard, and I can't explain it to you, but you just watch film and he's learning the system faster than I've ever seen anyone learn the system," said guard Chris Villarrial, Gandy's teammate for three seasons in Chicago. "He stepped in here as a veteran and he's doing what veterans do, and getting better every day."

To coach Mike Mularkey, Gandy's something akin to a used car on the lot. He looks fine. Everything seems in order. But it'll take a test drive to verify that.

"I'm very comfortable if we didn't have to put pads on right now," Mularkey said. "His approach has been exceptional. He's done a great job stepping in there. Again, it's a little different when you put the pads on. He's a smart player, and he's got some physical tools. To me, he's very smooth. He's a very smooth player. And I'm looking for that transition over to when the pads do go on."

If Gandy's knowledge translates into execution, the Bills could have their replacement for Jonas Jennings, or at least a capable stopgap to get them through this season and into next year's tackle-rich draft. If not, the upheaval could mandate a sudden shuffling of the deck. The likely scenario should Gandy falter has center Trey Teague moving to left tackle with either veteran Ross Tucker or rookie Duke Preston taking over at center. We've been down similar roads before. Rarely is there such a thing as a quick fix on the offensive line that involves positional changes.

It's on Gandy to embrace what's been given him, erase the doubts, carve himself a career.

"I think anytime you're in the league you realize how fleeting these opportunities are," Gandy said. "Every chance you get in the league is a chance you have to seize. There are a lot of guys who are fighting for these chances."

We'll see how much fight Gandy has in him, whether J.P. Losman has time to scan the field or whether his first season as a starting quarterback is spent looking over his shoulder.

Packers Sign Sixth-Round Draft Choice Michael Montgomery


posted 06/21/2005

Signing their second draft choice in as many days, the Green Bay Packers Tuesday inked defensive end Michael Montgomery. Ted Thompson, Executive Vice President, General Manager and Director of Football Operations, made the announcement.

Green Bay now has three of its 11 selections under contract, including guard/center Junius Coston (May 16) and guard William Whitticker (Monday). Only two other teams, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, are believed to have signed three draft picks.

Montgomery, a 6-foot-5, 275-pound player out of Texas A&M, earned first-team All-Big 12 honors as a senior in 2004, when he posted 78 tackles, six sacks, one interception and 12 tackles for loss. He joined Terrence Murphy, whom Green Bay had drafted four rounds earlier, as one of two Aggies captains last season, and earned his team's defensive MVP in leading A&M to the Cotton Bowl.

The Packers chose Montgomery with their first of two selections in the sixth round (180th overall), a choice acquired from Oakland in the Marques Anderson trade last September.

06-21-2005, 06:14 PM
The Pats signed Dwight and Morton as return men???

Yeah go figure

06-22-2005, 06:20 PM
Posted on Wed, Jun. 22, 2005

The Chiefs moved to address their depth at cornerback by arranging visits with veterans Dewayne Washington, Aaron Beasley, Ashley Ambrose and Terrance Shaw .

All were scheduled to be at Arrowhead Stadium on Thursday.

Absent from the list is Ty Law, who first met with the Chiefs in March. The Chiefs have maintained a discussion with Law’s agent but have yet to schedule a follow-up visit to inspect the progress of his surgically repaired foot.

Cornerback depth became a concern for the Chiefs last weekend when they lost Julian Battle for the season with a torn Achilles’ tendon. The Chiefs also anticipate losing starter Eric Warfield for at least part of the season because of an NFL suspension.

Their other cornerbacks are veterans Patrick Surtain, Dexter McCleon and Benny Sapp, and rookies Alphonso Hodge, Justin Perkins and Gabriel Helms.

A look at the four scheduled visitors:

■ Washington, 32 and an 11-year veteran with Minnesota, Pittsburgh and Jacksonville, was the only one of the group to be a full-time starter last season. He had two interceptions last year in his only season with the Jaguars.

■ Beasley, 31, played nine seasons with Jacksonville, the New York Jets and Atlanta. He was a starter for most of his career until last year, when he was a reserve in his only season with the Falcons.

■ Ambrose, 34, played 13 seasons with Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Atlanta and New Orleans. A Pro Bowler in 1996 with the Bengals, Ambrose started six games for the Saints last season. He missed seven games because of a sore knee.

■ Shaw , 32, is a 10-year veteran with San Diego , Miami, New England, Oakland and Minnesota. He has been a part-time starter for the last several years, including last year with the Vikings.

Eagles sound off: All quiet on Owens
They insist that Andy Reid has not had any dialogue with the receiver's agent.

Posted on Wed, Jun. 22, 2005

Eagles officials were deeply irritated yesterday about a claim by Terrell Owens' agent that he has had open dialogue with head coach Andy Reid about the wide receiver's contract situation.

In yesterday's edition of the Philadelphia Daily News, Drew Rosenhaus said: "I called Andy and talked to him. I mention this because I think people have the sense that I don't have a professional dialogue with him. It's not like he and I don't have a dialogue."

According to two Eagles officials, the team, including Reid, has had no conversations with Rosenhaus regarding Owens' desire to rework the seven-year contract he signed before last season.

It is true that Rosenhaus called Reid recently, but one Eagles official said the conversation lasted "a matter of seconds."

"Drew called Andy on his cell," the official said. "Andy didn't realize it was Drew and he answered the phone."

Rosenhaus told the Daily News that he did not want to discuss or categorize his conversation with Reid.

"There's no discussion, there's no change, there's no dialogue," the Eagles' official said.

In other words, the Eagles' position remains that Owens must decide if he's going to play for them or sit out this season.

Reid did say during the Eagles' minicamp earlier this month that he has had some conversations with Owens, but the coach added that he did not know what the wide receiver's plans were.

Notes. The Eagles announced the release of cornerback Domonique Dunbar, who signed as a rookie free agent last month. Dunbar played college ball at Louisville.

NFL in Utah? It could happen


If you think the National Football League could never come to Salt Lake, consider this: Brownsville, Texas, is hoping to get a team.
What, Great Falls was already taken?
It makes you wonder. Los Angeles has 17 million people, and it still doesn't have an NFL team. What is Brownsville thinking?
Probably the same thing as Salt Lake: If Green Bay qualifies, doesn't everyone?
The prospect of Utah gaining an NFL team came to light this week in an article published in the Brownsville Herald that said the Rio Grande Valley is a possible NFL site. Proponents note that 7 million residents live in South Texas and North Mexico. Never mind Brownsville has only 139,000 in the immediate vicinity. (Isn't that a little like including Las Vegas and Denver in Salt Lake's metro population?)
The article said other cities showing interest are Salt Lake, Albuquerque, San Antonio, Toronto and Los Angeles.
Let the posturing begin.
That Salt Lake's name would arise among aspiring NFL cities isn't necessarily surprising. Ever since it hosted the 2002 Olympics, it has been pining for more big time events. That's why Real Salt Lake is here and thriving — at the box office, if not on the field. Of the aforementioned U.S. candidates, only L.A. has higher bank deposits than Salt Lake, according to the Herald. Salt Lake's 92 billion in deposits is 3 1/2 times as much as San Antonio and roughly 10 times that of Albuquerque and the Rio Grand Valley.
So there's money in Utah waiting to be spent.
For decades it was believed Salt Lake was too small to host a major league team in any sport. But then came the ABA Stars, then the NBA Jazz, and things changed. The Jazz not only survived but thrived. Another objection was that Salt Lake didn't have the business/advertising/fan base to support more than one big league team, yet Real Salt Lake is drawing the second-most fans in Major League Soccer.
To say Salt Lake couldn't support two or maybe even three major team because of size is to ignore other similar cities. Charlotte, with a metro population of 1.6 million (just 200,000 larger than Salt Lake), has the NFL Panthers and NBA Bobcats. New Orleans (1.3 million) has the NFL Saints and NBA Hornets. Milwaukee (1.7 million) has the NBA Bucks and MLB Brewers. Nashville (1.3 million) has the NHL Predators and NFL Titans. Buffalo, with 1.1 million residents, has the NHL Sabres and NFL Bills.
Then there's Green Bay, the ultimate anomaly, with a metro population of 225,000.
Beyond population and bank deposits, Salt Lake has a history of pulling off high visibility events. The Olympics were both well attended and highly successful. The 1993 NBA All-Star Game and '97 and '98 NBA Finals were smash hits. When the U.S. national soccer team played at Rice-Eccles Stadium in June 4, it drew over 40,000.
It seems when big events come to town, the town comes to the event.
Even more important, though, is the NFL's system. Thanks to the revenue sharing and a hard salary cap, even the little guys make money.
Could Salt Lake sustain an NFL team?
"Only if they triple the size of the Dead Goat (now Crazy Goat) Saloon," jokes Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist Art Thiel.
Seriously, Thiel says the NFL's formula of having taxpayers foot the stadium bill in smaller markets, but have the team share in TV revenues, makes Salt Lake "if not probable, at least plausible."
"The way it is," continues Thiel, "a whole bunch of cities that would not normally be on the radar are able to pull it off."
A quirky question about Salt Lake is whether fans will attend on Sunday. Yet the Jazz have always sold out Sunday NBA Playoff games (regular season games are rarely played on Sunday in Salt Lake).
Likewise, when the PGA Senior Tour played its final round on Sunday each year, it was always well attended.
Unlike baseball, NFL teams have only eight regular season home dates to fill.
Salt Lake probably won't outdo Los Angeles in the race to get an NFL franchise. Beyond that, it could happen. New Orleans owner Tom Benson has admitted he's considering relocating the Saints.
Twenty-six years ago, the New Orleans Jazz ended up in Salt Lake.
Maybe that could become Utah's motto: "We'll Take Whatever New Orleans Gives Us."
Brownsville can have the Vikings.

06-24-2005, 07:26 PM

Admitting publicly for the first time what many had already assumed to be the case, Fred Taylor revealed on Thursday that the knee injury he suffered in the Green Bay game last December was more serious than what was stated and that the Jaguars kept it under wraps.

Speaking to co-host Pete Prisco on The Frank Frangie Show (WZNZ, 1460 AM), Taylor offered candid comments about that injury and a groin injury that caused him to miss the final 14 games the 2001 season.

"It was a lot worse than initially thought," Taylor said about last year's knee injury. "How that came about, I don't know. It definitely was. They kept that under wraps.

"I had an MCL [medial collateral ligament] and PCL [posterior cruciate ligament] combo [tear]. The thing that I heard was that it was just under the severity of an ACL [anterior cruciate ligament] -- not as bad, but just below it because of the combination of the two. And that's what people failed to understand. Every time people saw me, they were thinking, 'Why are you still on crutches? Why aren't you walking correctly now?'

"But that was only three weeks out of my surgery and I had a full cut surgery instead of a scope. Everybody thought I had [arthroscopic surgery], but it was worse than that."

Prisco asked Taylor if he felt that because of last year's injury and the 2001 groin injury, that "... you've kind of been hung out to dry on the injuries. Why is that?"

Taylor cast part of the blame on the media.

"First of all, I guess it's the market we're in," he said. "So I guess once the media gets their hands on it, and chop it up on how they want to, and serve it how they want to, I'm kind of left out to dry. Other than that, it just happens.

"I'm not the type of guy that's going to rebel, rebel against the organization or go express all of my feelings to the media and start something that maybe we can handle right here in house. But you know, it only can happen so many times until a person gets enough.

"This is actually the second time that it's happened in my career, where I'm getting called out for being a softy, this and that. 'It's an injury where he should return in this amount of time.' And then, here I am, not looking like I'm working hard."

Taylor said he was encouraged by his rehabilitation and that he expected to be ready to play in time for the season opener Sept. 11 against Seattle. He also said he didn't see the necessity to play in any of the Jaguars' four preseason games.

"Even from the first couple years, I felt we had too many preseason games to play in," he said. "I don't even think I really need to play in one, even though I wouldn't mind. My goal is to be ready for the Seahawks on the 11th."



June 24, 2005 -- Tom Coughlin has studied everything there is to study about how to prevent injuries after his first season as coach of the Giants was marred by a load of incapacitated players. He's determined that more rest between training-camp practice sessions might help alleviate the problem.
Breaking with tradition, Coughlin will hold seven night practices from 6:10-8:10 p.m. this summer at the University at Albany. The usual camp schedule is a morning practice from 9-11 a.m. and an afternoon practice from 3-5 p.m. The night practices replace the afternoon sessions.

Coughlin is hoping that the extra time between workouts will give the bodies of his players more time to heal. Last season, the Giants were devastated by injuries, as 17 players found their way onto season-ending injured reserve.

The Giants have held only three night practices in their previous nine summers in Albany. The Giants begin their 10th year training in Albany on July 30. Camp ends Aug. 24.

As they did last year, the Giants on Aug. 6 will hold two joint practices with the Jets. Last year, that event drew a camp-record 9,210 fans. Last year's summer attendance of 45,040 was the highest ever for the Giants in Albany.

Loyal fans getting stiffed by Saints


In the midst of the battle between New Orleans owner Tom Benson and Louisiana officials over who'll pay for the proposed renovation of the 30-year-old Superdome, it turns out Saints fans are the most unrewarded in the NFL where victories are concerned.
Research by Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune shows that New Orleans has averaged a league-high 76,098 fans a victory during its 38 seasons. Cleveland is second at 75,721 and Detroit third at 75,434. Not coincidentally, those three cities -- along with Phoenix (Arizona), Houston and Seattle -- are the only ones to have had a franchise for more than a decade and never reach the Super Bowl.
New Orleans' average attendance of 60,935 ranks 13th, ahead of Green Bay, Minnesota, New England, Oakland, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Washington, which have combined for 32 Super Bowl appearances and 21 titles. This despite the Saints' one victory in the playoffs and the second-lowest winning percentage (.409) of any franchise, excluding the three-year-old Houston Texans. Arizona and Atlanta, whose winning percentages are almost identical to New Orleans', have attracted millions fewer fans.
Benson and other Saints officials declined comment on the Times-Picayune story, but Benson can brag the Saints are .483 with six playoff berths during his 20 seasons of ownership compared to a woeful .310 and no postseason appearances during 18 previous years.
"Unfortunately, ticket buying is not the sole criterion in determining whether a community retains an NFL team," said Marc Ganis, president of SportsCorp, Ltd., a Chicago-based sports consulting firm that works closely with the NFL. "There also needs to be corporate and political support for a city to be a viable location for an NFL franchise in the 21st century."
Which is why the Saints remain a prime candidate to fill the NFL's longstanding void in Los Angeles.
"Olive Ball" on rise -- Interest in football in China, where it is known as "Olive Ball," is growing so quickly that the NFL's 10-team Flag Football World Championship will be played in Beijing in August. More than 40,000 children in 84 schools in China's three largest cities -- Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou -- have been introduced to the sport during the last three years. A Chinese team participated in the event in 2004 for the first time, beating South Korea and tying Germany.
"I just met a youngster in Beijing who was as big and strong as me," said 6-foot-6, 252-pound Philadelphia tight end Chad Lewis, who speaks fluent Mandarin, after a May clinic there. "In a country of 1?billion people, future players are out there. All they need is an opportunity and the heart and desire to make it."
NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue practically promised a preseason game will be played in China in the near future.
"The real question is when and where, and just how to best show the positive aspects of the [sport]," Tagliabue said.
Family history to boot -- Kansas City relied on bloodlines in taking the rare step of picking a punter in the third round in April's draft. Dustin Colquitt followed dad Craig, later with Pittsburgh, and cousin Jimmy, later with Seattle, as the University of Tennessee's punter. The Chiefs like Colquitt's quick release, hang time, distance and left-footedness -- for the opposite spin it gives the ball -- and also his background.
"Having a father who has played in the league, with all the things that go on mentally, Dustin's got someone he can fall back on," said special teams coach Frank Gansz Jr., himself the son of a coach.
You are so beautiful? -- Eagles linebacker Dhani Jones, from Montgomery County's Churchill High School, was named one of People magazine's "50 Hottest Bachelors" of 2005. Jones, 27, was the only team sport athlete picked.
Jones, who designs his own line of bow ties, said his favorite look combines a bow tie and shorts with flip-flops or Birkenstocks. Nice.

06-25-2005, 07:24 AM

By Tony Cook
Post staff reporter

A federal magistrate judge ordered the NFL on Friday to turn over a host of documents to Hamilton County attorneys that the league considers "confidential and highly sensitive," including revenue and profit information for the league and each franchise.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy S. Hogan granted the county's motion to compel the National Football League to produce almost all of the 40 items the county wants as part of its antitrust lawsuit against the league and the Cincinnati Bengals.

The league must turn over the documents within 30 days, though it can appeal the magistrate's order to Senior U.S. District Judge S. Arthur Spiegel.

"The logjam has finally been broken," said Stan Chesley, one of the attorney's representing the county. "The NFL has been hiding under a veil of secrecy. The bottom line is we need these materials and we're going to get them."

League attorney Ken Seibel declined to comment Friday.

The county first requested information in August 2004, with an additional request in March.

The county contends the information is key to its attempts to prove the NFL and its member teams conspired to misrepresent the financial position of teams in order to secure public funding of new stadiums.

While some of the tightly held information the county requested from the league has been revealed in past lawsuits, never before has the NFL been required to reveal such a vast amount of financial and other information about its operations, according to county officials.

"The Bengals and the NFL guard their financial information better than the gold is guarded at Fort Knox, so this is a pretty big procedural victory," said Commissioner Todd Portune.

Among the items requested by the county:

Audited financial statements for each NFL franchise and the league itself from 1990 to the present, including income statements, cash flow statements and balance sheets

All NFL reports comparing franchise financial data

All documents related to the relocation of NFL franchises

Minutes of all meetings of the NFL owners

All documents concerning the reasons for the number of teams in the NFL

All documents relating to each NFL's franchise's efforts to secure a new stadium or stadium renovations within its host community or potential host community from 1990 to present.

Any information the league turns over will be under a protective court order.

Hogan made one exception in his order to turn over the documents Friday.

The NFL is not required to provide information produced in some prior lawsuits against the league involving the relocation of NFL franchises. League attorney Gregg Levy told the court those documents no longer exist.

Levy did not return a phone call to his office Friday.

Friday's court decision does not require the Bengals to turn over any additional information.

"The Bengals, to their credit, have been cooperating," Chesley said. "The Bengals gave us nine boxes of information. (The NFL) gave us one box."

The NFL had objected to the county's requests, calling them "vague and ambiguous, overly broad, unduly burdensome, and/or not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence."

League attorneys also objected "to the extent that they seek information or documents that are confidential or otherwise commercially sensitive" and "protected from disclosure by attorney-client privilege."

For most of the requests, NFL attorneys wanted only to hand over information dating back to 1993 and only documents related to the Bengals, not other teams.

But in his decision, Hogan found the requests "likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence." He also said that while the production of such large amounts of information might be burdensome for smaller entities, that is a "relative thing and not overly burdensome either for the football clubs or the National Football League."

The court has twice extended the deadline for discovery in the case, delaying the trial date which will remain unscheduled until the court decides on several pending motions for summary judgment.

The deadline for discovery is now August 15.

The county claims the Bengals and the NFL used monopoly power to force the county into a 1997 stadium lease that was highly unfavorable to taxpayers.

The county is seeking $600 million or more in damages.

06-26-2005, 09:38 AM

In an era when many state legislatures face revenue problems, the state of Louisiana is beset with a unique one.

The state must come up with $15 million by July 15 for the Saints. If they don't, the state defaults on their current deal and leaves the Saints free to move, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

The state doesn't have the money and might have to get a short-term loan through revenue anticipation notes.

Meanwhile, in California, often listed as a destination for the Saints, there will be a bill getting consideration to get tax-free financing for stadiums.

This measure could wind up helping San Diego and San Francisco as well as Los Angeles, although Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger hasn't taken a position on it yet.

The Chargers are willing to pay to build their own stadium, but want 60 acres in free land to develop as part of the deal, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

They might try to get it on the ballot in November of 2006. Until the Chargers get a new stadium, they'll be out of the Super Bowl race.

San Diego, New Orleans and Los Angeles were once three prime Super Bowl cities, but now they're out of the running until they get new stadiums.

He advises against going for 6


If you're a player, the lesson to be learned from Richard Seymour is: Don't sign a rookie contract for six years unless you get a hefty signing bonus. If you outplay the contract, as Seymour has, you could wind up in his predicament, with two years to go, making less than half the money comparable players are, with the team holding all of the cards.

Many teams that sign players to six-year deals rework them after five years or cut the player if he doesn't pan out. Seymour is flexing his muscle a year early.

But in agent Tom Condon's mind, this makes his point on insisting last spring that tight end Benjamin Watson sign for five years before the pressure associated with holding out as a rookie with the world champions got to him. Watson hired a new agent, and a six-year deal was in place in just a few days.

Watson will be about 30 by the time the deal is done. If he becomes a good player (his injury last season has already reduced the escalators at the end of the contract), Watson might find himself in a similar predicament.

Ty Warren also signed a six-year deal in 2003, with a $3 million signing bonus, and this year's top pick, Logan Mankins , will be asked to do the same.

''In my opinion, you should definitely not sign a six-year deal if you're at the bottom half of the first round, and if you're in the top half, you need substantial bonus money up front if you're going to do it," Condon said.

Condon, who has strong ties to the Players Association, thinks the latest negotiations, with the players trying to get the owners to pony up all aspects of gross revenue, including proceeds from luxury boxes, parking, and merchandising, could very well set limits on rookie deals.

''If you're going to allow unrestricted free agency after four years, then it doesn't make sense that you make guys sign six-year deals," Condon said.

Condon had been on the fast track on a deal for No. 1 pick Alex Smith with the 49ers, but he pulled back to see whether a new collective bargaining agreement might affect rookie deals.

Waiting for a deal to kick in

Wonder how soon after July 15 the Patriots will sign Adam Vinatieri to a long-term deal. That's the date when the Patriots can get their franchise tag back so they can use it again next season; if they announce a deal prior to the 15th, they lose the franchise tag for the length of Vinatieri's deal. The fact that Vinatieri couldn't come to terms with the Patriots was strange, considering the longtime relationship between agent Neil Cornrich and Bill Belichick . The Patriots have several Cornrich clients on the team, and they're usually signed easily.



Rookie cornerback Travis Daniels has made a quick impression with the Dolphins. The former LSU standout and veteran Mario Edwards alternated reps with the first-team defense opposite Sam Madison during the team's recent minicamp. Meanwhile, Reggie Howard, who signed a six-year, $21.5 million contract last season, is working as the dime back. . . . Redskins quarterback and former Tulane standout Patrick Ramsey solidified his grip on the starting job with a standout offseason. "Pat is night and day from last year," Redskins running back Clinton Portis said. "He stepped in last year at a time we needed a spark and performed well. This year, Pat looks like Peyton Manning. He's not a Peyton Manning, but the difference in him -- the leadership role, where he's putting the ball, the accuracy, the patience he has -- you can tell he's comfortable." . . . Former Saints and Falcons veteran Ashley Ambrose was one of four veteran cornerbacks who worked out for the Chiefs last week. Kansas City is desperate for cornerback help. The NFL is expected to suspend starter Eric Warfield for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Nickel back Julian Battle is out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon. That leaves little experience behind Karr alum Patrick Surtain and veteran Dexter McCleon. With that in mind, the Chiefs auditioned Ambrose, Dewayne Washington, Aaron Beasley and Terrance Shaw. . . . The Bills are still trying to deal running back Travis Henry. They're asking price of a first-day draft pick remains unchanged. . . . Southern California defensive tackle Manuel Wright is projected as third- or fourth-round pick in the July 14 supplemental draft, but could go in the second round because so many teams are desperate for help on the defensive line. If a team selects Wright in the supplemental draft, it will forfeit the pick in that round in the traditional 2006 draft. . . . Legendary Steelers broadcaster Myron Cope is retiring after 35 years as a team announcer. Cope, 76, decided to quit after retired team executive Joe Gordon told him his on-air work had declined. Cope is famous for stoking the popularity of the Terrible Towel during Pittsburgh's string of Super Bowl championships in the 1970s. . . . The Saints and second-round draft pick Josh Bullocks have a benchmark for contract negotiations. The Bears and rookie wide receiver Mark Bradley agreed to a five-year deal with bonus money of a little more than $2 million. The Saints selected Bullocks one spot behind Bradley at No. 40.

06-26-2005, 10:34 AM

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - To paraphrase Jeff Foxworthy:

If your first name is Mike, and you are employed as a head coach in the National Football League, you might be on the hot seat.

Whether your surname is Holmgren, Martz, Shanahan, Sherman or Tice, your job in 2005 will be to win football games, preferably a whole lot of them. Mike Nolan, the new head guy in San Francisco, is the member of the Mikes that gets a break for the foreseeable future, if that's what you want to call working for John York.

The others are among a group of NFL coaches who must meet expectations, or risk being asked to pass the mike. An eager group of skippers is waiting in the wings, quietly hoping that their chance to operate with ultimate authority on an NFL sideline is imminent.

Below we take a look at the coaches that enter 2005 on the hot seat, followed by a glimpse of the possible next generation of league head men:


1. Norv Turner, Raiders (5-11 in one season with Oakland) - If Turner doesn't just win, baby, in his second year in Oakland, the notoriously quick hook of owner Al Davis is bound to make an appearance. With the additions of Randy Moss and LaMont Jordan on offense, the Raiders expect to challenge in the AFC West, and if they don't, Turner will be seeking employment elsewhere.

2. Jim Haslett, Saints (42-38 in five seasons with New Orleans, 1-1 in playoffs) - Haslett saved his job when the Saints won their final four games and nearly made the playoffs in 2004, but the fact that the organization has yet to give him a multi-year extension is telling. If New Orleans misses the postseason for the fifth straight year in '05, you can expect Haslett's tenure to expire.

3. Dom Capers, Texans (16-32 in three seasons with Houston) - The Texans have made slow and steady improvement in their first three years of existence, from 4-12 to 5-11 to last year's 7-9, but anything less than a prominent place in the playoff picture could spell the end of Capers' tenure in Houston. In a division that includes the Colts and up-and-coming Jaguars, the head coach has a tall order.

4. Steve Mariucci, Lions (11-21 in two seasons with Detroit) - Lions team president Matt Millen is very lucky to be gainfully employed after four years and a 16-48 record under his watch, and by extension, Mariucci is in trouble as well. If the Lions struggle again and Millen gets the boot, Mariucci could be swept away along with him.

5. Mike Martz, Rams (51-29 in five seasons with St. Louis, 3-3 in playoffs) - Though they made the playoffs and even won a postseason game last season, St. Louis was 3-7 against teams not from the worst division in football, the NFC West (and two of the three wins were at the end of the year against the Eagles and Jets, who had already secured playoff berths). Martz's act has begun to wear a bit thin in the Arch city, and a losing season could spell his exit.

6. Mike Tice, Vikings (23-26 in four seasons with Minnesota, 1-1 in playoffs) - Minnesota improved itself by leaps and bounds in the offseason, and Tice's team is expected to be a Super Bowl contender in 2005. If the Vikings continue to underachieve, Minnesota's new ownership doesn't figure to have a great deal of compassion for Tice.

7. Mike Holmgren, Seahawks (50-46 in six seasons with Seattle, 0-3 in playoffs) Holmgren has taken a consistently mediocre franchise and made it slightly less mediocre, raising expectations to the point that many Seahawks fans are fed up with the team's lack of playoff success. Last season's three-game sweep at the hands of the Rams incensed Seattle supporters, with the home playoff loss inciting the most sizeable wrath. If the Seahawks sputter their way through the worst division in football again in 2005, Holmgren would be well-advised to duck and cover.

8. Mike Shanahan, Broncos (101-59 in 10 seasons with Denver, 7-4 in playoffs) - Two Super Bowl rings don't make you untouchable in Denver, and the presence of just one losing season in 10 years isn't doing much to satisfy Broncos fans either. Shanahan's team hasn't won a postseason game since John Elway retired, and many observers are expecting the worst after the team gambled big-time in both the draft and free agency this past offseason. A losing season, which is in no way out of the question in the improving AFC West, could mark the end of the line for Shanahan.

9. Lovie Smith, Bears (5-11 in one season with Chicago) - The Bears took a step back in the first year of the Lovie Smith era, and a similar sophomore campaign for the former Rams defensive coordinator could prompt the Chicago brass to target some change. At the very least, the NFL's worst offense of a year ago has to produce a few more points and a lot more excitement than it did in '04, a directive which the collective presence of QB Rex Grossman, RB Cedric Benson, and WR Muhsin Muhammad should aide.

10. Mike Sherman, Packers (53-27 in five seasons with Green Bay, 2-4 in playoffs) - Sherman was probably as popular in Green Bay last season as he has been during his five-year tenure, as he seized offensive play-calling duties from coordinator Tom Rossley and promptly turned a 1-4 start to a 10-6 finish and NFC North crown. Still, cheeseheads aren't going to offer much leeway for that home playoff loss to the Vikings, and they're not wild about the fact that Sherman has never gotten the Pack as far as the NFC Championship. Green Bay had an awful offseason, and if they drop off as much as some expect this year, there will likely be a new head man patrolling the home Lambeau sideline in 2006.

...and keep an eye on:

11. Marty Schottenheimer, Chargers (24-24 in three seasons with San Diego, 0-1 in playoffs) - Sure, the Bolts were back last year, but if they slip back into the abyss, Schottenheimer will be held accountable.

12. Jeff Fisher, Titans (93-73 in 10 seasons with Tennessee, 5-4 in playoffs) - The Titans have been predicted by some to be the worst team in the NFL this year, and if that happens, Fisher's long history in the Music City could come to an end.

13. Tom Coughlin, Giants (6-10 in one season with New York) - It's the Big Apple (well, close enough), and if the Giants don't make progress, Coughlin could be a two-year wonder a la Ray Handley.

14. Jon Gruden, Buccaneers (24-24 in three seasons with Tampa Bay, 3-0 in playoffs) - Some Bucs fans have taken to giving more credit to Tony Dungy than Gruden for that Super Bowl win, and a third straight losing season would prompt some loud calls for Chucky's head.

15. Herman Edwards, Jets (35-29 in four seasons with New York, 2-3 in playoffs) - He plays to win the game, but if they miss the playoffs and/or are embarrassed by the Patriots again in hostile New York, Edwards could be coaching elsewhere.

06-26-2005, 10:35 AM

1. Jim Fassel, Offensive Coordinator, Ravens - Fassel probably would have been a head coach this season if there had been more teams in the market for a change, but instead had to settle for the offensive coordinator slot with Baltimore. Fassel was 58-53-1 in seven seasons with the Giants, leading them to a Super Bowl appearance in 2000, and if he can breathe life into the Ravens' stagnant offense, Fassel's star will likely shine brighter. The coach's advancing age (56 when the season starts) could be a possible drawback for teams striving for more youthful enthusiasm.

2. Tim Lewis, Defensive Coordinator, Giants - Lewis lost out to Mike Nolan when the 49ers' job was vacant this past winter, but league insiders feel that it's only a matter of time before the 43-year-old coordinator is a head coach. Lewis' reputation was built in Pittsburgh between 2000 and 2003, when his defenses were consistently among the best in the league.

3. Gregg Williams, Assistant Head Coach/Defense, Redskins - Some felt that Williams received a raw deal in Buffalo, where he went 17-31 and was gone after three seasons. After presiding over perhaps the league's top defense in Washington last year, the 47-year-old Williams figures to get another shot sooner rather than later.

4. Pete Carroll, Head Coach, USC - Carroll has continually claimed that he has no interest in returning to the NFL, but if he wins another national title with the Trojans and receives an intriguing enough offer, who knows? The 54- year-old Carroll had just one losing season in four as an NFL head coach (that coming with the Jets in 1994), and led New England to back-to-back playoff appearances in 1997 and 1998.

5. Cam Cameron, Offensive Coordinator, Chargers - Cameron's scheme was lauded during San Diego's resurgence in 2004, and if the Chargers continue to generate offensive fireworks, the coordinator could get a long look. The 44- year-old Cameron has experience as a head coach, having gone 18-37 in five seasons at Indiana between 1997 and 2001.

6. Greg Knapp, Offensive Coordinator, Falcons - Terrell Owens' opinion of him not withstanding, Knapp has built a reputation as one of the top offensive minds in the game. After turning Jeff Garcia into an effective starter in San Francisco, Knapp followed Jim Mora to Atlanta and helped the Falcons to a spot in the NFC Championship. If Michael Vick improves under Knapp's tutelage this year, the 42-year-old coordinator should see his stock rise.

7. Kirk Ferentz, Head Coach, Iowa - Prior to elevating the Hawkeyes back to their former Top 10 ways, Ferentz was an NFL assistant for six years with the Ravens and Browns. Since setting up residency in Iowa City, Ferentz has guided Iowa to three straight 10+ win seasons despite constructing teams that are considered a tad short on talent. Like Carroll, Ferentz has shrugged off speculation that he might coach in the NFL.

8. Mike Zimmer, Defensive Coordinator, Cowboys - It is testament to Zimmer's talent and popularity that he has served under four different coaches while with Dallas, and Bill Parcells thought enough of Zimmer to keep him in his role as defensive coordinator when taking the head job. An endorsement from Parcells still carries plenty of weight, and if Dallas can move back into the NFL elite, the 49-year-old Zimmer will likely benefit.

9. Brad Childress, Offensive Coordinator, Eagles - Childress, 49, has received a ringing endorsement from pupil Donovan McNabb and went as far as a formal interview with Cleveland in January. The trouble for Childress could be a lack of name cachet, as head coach Andy Reid is generally offered most of the credit for Philadelphia's successes in the west coast offense.

10. Mike Heimerdinger, Offensive Coordinator, Jets - Heimerdinger's genius in Tennessee was his versatility, as he presided over an offense that morphed from a run-first, Eddie George-heavy scheme into an aerial attack dependent upon the arm of Steve McNair. Heimerdinger parlayed that success into an interview with San Francisco in the offseason, but had to settle for a job mentoring Chad Pennington and the Jets attack. If Heimerdinger is marginally more popular than Paul Hackett was in New York, he could get a sniff of a head job somewhere.

...and keep an eye on:

11. Donnie Henderson, Defensive Coordinator, Jets - Henderson could become yet another one-time Ravens' defensive assistant to find himself a head coaching job (Jack Del Rio, Marvin Lewis, and Mike Nolan are the others), after the 48- year-old was credited with keeping the Jets afloat through Chad Pennington's injury-plagued 2004.

12. Russ Grimm, Offensive Line Coach, Steelers - The old-school Grimm, who received a courtesy interview with Browns, has name cachet but no coordinator experience. By the way, Andy Reid had no coordinator experience before taking the Philadelphia job.

13. Jeff Tedford, Head Coach, California - The 43-year-old Tedford has tutored many a future NFL quarterback (Trent Dilfer, Kyle Boller, Joey Harrington, David Carr) within a pro-style scheme, and built something out of nothing with the Golden Bears (25-13 with three bowl appearances in three seasons). Tedford has no NFL experience, however.

14. Scott Linehan, Offensive Coordinator, Dolphins - The Vikings' offense was always potent under Linehan's watch, and if Miami's formerly stagnant attack can make enough strides, the coordinator could reap the rewards.

15. Art Shell, Senior Vice President for Football Operations & Development, NFL - In five-plus seasons as a head coach with Raiders, Shell was 54-38, made three playoff appearances, and never finished worse than 7-9. There is no legitimate reason why Shell never got another job, but now teams can start using his age (58) and time out of the league (he last coached a position in 2000 with the Falcons) as marks against him.

06-27-2005, 06:16 PM

Monday, June 27, 2005

When the 2006 NFL season commences, it will mark the first time that Monday Night Football will not be part of the ABC lineup since its debut in the fall of 1970. The marquee event will instead be moved to fellow Disney- owned ESPN.
The cable channel’s senior vice president of programming, John Wildhack, said, “It’s the premier sports franchise that there is in this country. And for us to be the home for that franchise for the next eight years is a tremendous milestone for ESPN.”

Losing an estimated $150 million a year probably made the decision easier for ABC execs to swallow. But according to an ABC spokesperson, “There is one more year left on the contract and even though it will be a very emotional time, the people involved will treat this year in a very professional manner.”

The spokesman continued that once the decision had been made and ABC execs had made their statements regarding the NFL’s selection, there was nothing more to be said.

However you view it, the current 35-year run is the longest of any “sports” prime-time television program in the history of the tube. Only “60 Minutes”, CBS' prime-time news show that began on Sept. 24, 1968, and “Meet the Press,” a non-prime time show that incredibly was an NBC original on November 6, 1947, and ABC’s own non-primer, “Wide World of Sports” (April, 1961) have longer shelf lives.

Monday Night Football was the creation of ABC’s tycoon style producer, Roone Arledge, who had the foresight and chutzpah to mix sports and entertainment together.

Many firsts can be attributed to MNF since its inception on Sept. 21, 1970, when the Cleveland Browns defeated the New York Jets in Cleveland 31-21. It introduced us to a sophisticated and powerful graphics package and more importantly established what we have come to know as the “color analyst.”

When MNF made its inaugural ABC appearance, CBS’s Monday night lineup included “Mayberry R.F.D.”, “The Doris Day Show”, and “The Carol Burnett Show” while NBC countered with “Monday Night at the Movies.”

And what was life like in 1970? “Tricky Dick” and Spiro were ruling the country, inflation was at 6.5 percent, the cost for a first class stamp was 6 cents, and a gallon of gasoline set the consumer back 36 cents.

When ESPN takes over the Monday Night Football package next season, it will have 17 regular season telecasts and an ESPN pre-game show live from each site that will highlight Sunday’s action and preview the Monday night game.

Perhaps another welcomed change is that the games will be moved up to a new starting time, 8:30 p.m., with the kickoff to follow ten minutes later.

With the move to Monday Night Football, ESPN relinquishes its Sunday night and Thursday night packages, allowing NBC to jump into the football frenzy for the first time in seven seasons. According to NBC Sports President Ken Schanzer, “It’s a huge move. When we were out of football, we always made it clear that we wanted to remain in football, the only issue separating us from it was the price. Now we were able to find a deal with package and price that made eminent sense to us.”

NBC’s agreement calls for 17 regular season games -- 16 on Sunday night, the most watched night by viewers, and a Thursday night season opener -- two playoff games on Wild Card Weekend, three prime-time pre-season games, and the rights to the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl for 2009 and 2012.

Mike McCarley, vice president of communications and marketing for NBC, said, “They (NFL) came to us with a flexible scheduling idea. Sunday night was the one night that made sense for us.” Plans are for the network to begin with a 7 p.m. pre-game show followed by an 8:15 kickoff.

Another plus for NBC is that no one, including ESPN, will be able to air any NFL highlights until midnight or after on Sunday. “So people will be tuning into NBC for highlights,” said McCarley.

To ensure the best games, whichever network (CBS or FOX) has the Sunday doubleheader game, they will be able to protect only one of those games. That protection announcement will come some two weeks prior giving NBC the choice of the second best game for Sunday night. The flexible scheduling will also allow for more compelling and competitive games over the final seven or eight weeks of the season.

When analyzing the 2006 packages, Schanzer said that he knows what the CBS and FOX packages are, but that some confusion still exists over the prime time packages (ESPN and NBC). With NFL teams restricted to four prime time appearances per season, the premier teams (Patriots, Eagles, Steelers, etc.) would surface on Monday night, say three times, and once more on Sunday. That was the way it was in the past, but in 2006 that will now be reversed.

Schanzer continued, “What happened here was that the NFL decided to move what had been the Monday Night package to Sunday night meaning that the premier package will now be on Sunday night.”

ESPN’s Wildhack’s response was, “Monday Night Football is the definition of appointment viewing and now that brand is married with ESPN’s multi-media offering of MNF.” Besides the regular ESPN telecast, the game will be aired on ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN Mobile, which will be made available by the end of this year.

Earlier, I had asked both Schanzer and Wildhack if there had been any movement towards assembling announcer teams. In both cases, the answer was no. But that issue became somewhat clear when NBC announced in mid-June that it had signed 69-year-old John Madden to a six-year deal beginning in 2006. The network was mum on whether it would pursue his partner, Al Michaels. Madden has now hit for the cycle, having worked for all four major networks.

Upon his signing, Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports and Olympics, was quoted as saying, “We’re just positively giddy to have John Madden join NBC.” I think others would have a somewhat different opinion.

But this announcement also helps clear up the ESPN package as well, either it will be the Sunday night crew of Mike Patrick, Paul Maguire, and Joe Theismann or something completely different. Wildhack, however did say, “No decisions have been made on talent, but we operate from a position of strength with our studio teams and game crew.”

ESPN’s deal is for two more years than NBC’s, culminating in 2006 and ending in 2013. The deal is reported to be for 8 years and $1.1 billion. NBC’s contract calls for six and $600 million.

Prior to the most recent announcements, the NFL re-upped with both CBS -- six years and $622 million and Fox -- six years and $712 million.

Anyway you slice it, the NFL will be well fed for the balance of this decade and beyond. The deals call for more than $440 million a year.

Kris Wilson back at full strength
Chiefs’ tight end again turns heads

Posted on Mon, Jun. 27, 2005


06-27-2005, 06:47 PM
Another plus for NBC is that no one, including ESPN, will be able to air any NFL highlights until midnight or after on Sunday. “So people will be tuning into NBC for highlights,” said McCarley.

What? No ESPN NFL Primetime??? NBC is now going to do a show like that?

Does that also mean no highlights for the 10/11pm local news?

06-28-2005, 07:42 AM
• Based on offseason workouts, it appears the Chargers are set to open training camp with cornerback Drayton Florence and free safety Jerry Wilson ahead of Sammy Davis and Bhawoh Jue, respectively, on the depth chart.

Why did we up Bhawoh Jue as our only real offseason aquisition? Why aren't we going after Lance Shulters who is still a great player when we have the cap room to afford him and no one else seems to.

Florence is a better corner than Davis, he should start.

06-28-2005, 10:16 AM
• Based on offseason workouts, it appears the Chargers are set to open training camp with cornerback Drayton Florence and free safety Jerry Wilson ahead of Sammy Davis and Bhawoh Jue, respectively, on the depth chart.

Why did we up Bhawoh Jue as our only real offseason aquisition? Why aren't we going after Lance Shulters who is still a great player when we have the cap room to afford him and no one else seems to.

Florence is a better corner than Davis, he should start.

Opening TC and closing TC are two different things. Relax, let's spend the money getting Gates taken care of.

06-28-2005, 11:31 AM
Opening TC and closing TC are two different things. Relax, let's spend the money getting Gates taken care of.

Very true, we most likely don't have the money to get him too. And besides, we don't even know how good the guys we have now can be. Both Hart and Jue were behind top tier starters prior to joining the Chargers. A.J., Marty and company must have seen something there.

Go Bolts!
:Bolt: :Bolt: :Bolt:

06-28-2005, 11:33 AM
What? No ESPN NFL Primetime??? NBC is now going to do a show like that?

Does that also mean no highlights for the 10/11pm local news?

That part of the deal sucks! NFL Primetime is the best football highlights show there is. I don't think NBC can do anywhere near as well.

Go Bolts!
:Bolt: :Bolt: :Bolt:

06-29-2005, 08:55 PM
I was on ESPN.com and clicked on the videos of the day.. I heard that T.O might, and I say Might be traded by the begining of training camp.. Thats wild, one of the contenders that might have him is.. who else??? The Raiders. Randy Moss was interviewed and asked about it.. That would be a scary offense, no matter how much Kerry Collins sucks!!

06-29-2005, 09:04 PM
It wouldn't last long, why? Number 1) Cap reasons, Number 2) Both would complain about the other having a better game, it's not worth it for either of them, no matter how much they would say they wouldn't be like that, they would.

06-29-2005, 09:08 PM
In all honestly, I cannot see that happening. Yes, the Raiders have little cap room and even if they were able to squeeze Owens in then who else do they have to trade? I also believe that they don't care about their stats as much as they care about winning. I see their personalities clashing but I do not see Moss and Owens fighting over who gets more receptions/receiving yards/ or touchdowns.

06-29-2005, 09:12 PM
That'd be extremely scary! No matter what anyone says about Colllins, his arm is a cannon that has to be accounted for. Moss & T.O? WOW!!!! However, the Bolts have to only worry about themselves & play their own game! Bring it on!!!! Bolts Dynasty Starts In '05!!!!

06-29-2005, 09:17 PM
I wish I was making this up, I know the raiders couldnt afford it, I am a little buzzed so please forgive me, but if you go to ESPN.com and click on the videos it is titled Randy and T.O Together!! I should have started this thread in Rumors.. Sorry everyone, can a Moderator help me out please??

06-29-2005, 09:32 PM
It wouldn't last long, why? Number 1) Cap reasons, Number 2) Both would complain about the other having a better game, it's not worth it for either of them, no matter how much they would say they wouldn't be like that, they would.

Have to agree with that, it is exactly what would happen.

Go Bolts!
:Bolt: :Bolt: :Bolt:

06-29-2005, 10:02 PM
Sorry everyone, can a Moderator help me out please??

They're never around when you need them!


06-29-2005, 10:08 PM
I would LOVE to see T.O. and Randy Moss on the Raiders. They will torn the Raider nation and its football organization for the next decade.

06-29-2005, 11:15 PM
T.O.'s going nowhere.

Even more so than AJ, Andy Reid and the Eagles have the hardest *** reputation in the NFL.

T.O. either plays for the Eagles in 2005 or he sits on the sidelines and repays them millions in bonus money ala Ricky Williams.

Look for T.O. to return to the Eagles right before the first regular season game with his tail between his legs.

El Relámpago
06-30-2005, 03:18 PM
I would LOVE to see T.O. and Randy Moss on the Raiders. They will torn the Raider nation and its football organization for the next decade.

I'd like to see it myself, to see the destruction caused by these 2 egos on & off the field! They better not line them up anywhere near eachother or a cross pattern, b/c they'd probably tackle eachother rather than share catches!!!

BOLTS! :21: :Helmet: :Bolt:

Viva los Cargadores de San Diego!!!!

07-03-2005, 09:35 AM
Link (http://www.realgmfootball.com/src_twelfthwriter/1/20050629/charging_up_for_2005/)

Before last year, football and San Diego went together about as well as ice hockey and El Salvador. The 2003 San Diego Chargers finished the regular season at the bottom of the league standings at a disappointing 4-12. Three years earlier, the team had swallowed an abysmal 1-15 record in 2000 and chased it down with an AFC West-worst 5-11 in 2001. We all know the story behind San Diego’s astonishing 2004 turnaround, but the question remains: was it just an enormous fluke, or a sign of much bigger things to come?

I’ll save you the effort of reading down to the bottom of this article: the San Diego Chargers are as legitimate a contender as any in 2005, and will likely remain so for the rest of the decade.

After being knocked out in the first round of last year’s playoffs by a deceptively-strong Jets squad, San Diego has refrained from basking in the glory of its worst-to-first, eight-game swing and has instead set its sights on 2005. The defending AFC West champs know they are young and talented on both sides of the ball, and with the taste of success fresh in their mouths, there’s no turning back for these former perennial underachievers. Entering this season, Marty Schottenheimer’s club boasts not only the best tailback in the NFL, but the league’s most dangerous offensive trio outside the state of Indiana, as well. LaDanian Tomlinson, who ran for an NFL-best 17 touchdowns in 2004, will return alongside a budding star in quarterback Drew Brees, and an explosive young talent in third-year tight end, Antonio Gates.

In light of Priest Holmes recent injuries and Clinton Portis’ and Shaun Alexander’s lack of complimentary aerial attacks, Tomlinson has established himself as the league’s premier big play back by scoring 54 times and rushing for nearly 6,000 yards in his first four seasons. Brees, perhaps spurred on by the success of his fellow 2001 Charger rookie, Tomlinson, and the drafting of the talented Phillip Rivers, threw 27 touchdowns, 3,159 yards, and a mere 7 interceptions in 2004. His favorite target, Antonio Gates, seems to be emerging as the heir apparent to Tony Gonzalez’s throne as the best tight end in football. Not only do Gonzalez and Gates share a flair for basketball, both were also among the league’s top three tight ends in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns last year. Gates, in particular, notched 13 scores in 2004 – fourth among all NFL receivers and tight ends. Throw in a solid offensive line and role players like Keenan McCardell, Reche Caldwell, Jessie Chatman, Lorenzo Neal, and Nate Kaeding, and it’s no wonder that San Diego ranked behind only Indianapolis and Kansas City among the league’s highest scoring offenses in 2004.

Although the Charger defense struggled at times last season, the unit still managed to finish second in rush defense in the AFC and has remained relatively intact through the offseason. With the selections of standout linebacker, Shawne Merriman, and promising defensive tackle, Luis Castillo, the squad enters the upcoming season with arguably the league’s most talented defensive front seven. Although cornerback Quentin Jammer may be the only dependable link in a suspect San Diego secondary, defensive coordinator, Wade Phillips, will undoubtedly implement zone blitzes and various coverage schemes to maximize the production of his developing defensive backs. As long as the Charger defense can keep opponents under three touchdowns a game – they allowed an average of 19.6 points per game last season – the highly potent offensive attack should be able to take care of the rest.

With a six-game midseason stretch featuring a home game against the Steelers, and road match-ups versus New England, Oakland, Philadelphia, and the New York Jets, it will certainly be a much tougher road for the Chargers in 2005. Yet, it is clear that Schottenheimer’s squad has the talent to play with the league’s elite, and after a bittersweet conclusion to the 2004 campaign, look for LaDanian and the resurgent Chargers to rack up twelve or thirteen regular season victories and make a legitimate run towards Ford Field in February.

07-03-2005, 10:51 AM
Well allright! Finally a writer who's been paying attention. Thanks for the post.

07-03-2005, 11:52 AM
Good article.

Chargers can defintiely go places this year. I mean with all the tough opponents we have and should we come out with a winning season - I see this as a dynasty in the making.

Just need to fiil the void at one of our Safety Positions (hope your it, Jue) and a legitimate #1 WR (Reche? Jackson?) --- I can see our goals even go higher for many years to come.

No more disrespect...no more football humor on national tv...just some well deserved RESPECT all around.

07-03-2005, 01:00 PM
Let's hope he holds out to at least after week 4 ;)

As camp nears, don't be surprised to see less of Seymour

http://www.boston.com/sports/football/patriots/articles/2005/07/03/as_camp_nears_dont_be_surprised_to_see_less_of_sey mour?mode=PF

By Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff | July 3, 2005

It's vacation time in the NFL and Richard Seymour's holdout is on hold -- for now. But team sources tell us the Patriots are unlikely to redo the contract to Seymour's liking. And player sources continue to tell us Seymour will dig in for what could be a prolonged holdout.

There's nearly a month to go before the start of training camp and much could change, but the Patriots say they feel good about potential replacements for Seymour, especially Jarvis Green, who has a chance to prove he can be a top-echelon defensive lineman as he heads into his unrestricted free agent season. There's also optimism about Rodney Bailey, a restricted free agent signing from last year who missed the season after rupturing his Achilles' tendon.

There's always the possibility Seymour could cave. Most holdouts do. Seymour, who is scheduled to earn $2.8 million this season, believes the precedent has been set with Tom Brady's new deal for renegotiations with two years remaining on a contract.

Seymour has sent mixed signals about his holdout, attending the team's ring ceremony just a day after skipping minicamp, and then playing golf with members of the organization the following day.

But don't read anything into that because in the past Seymour has been able to separate business from the camaraderie of teammates.

Bills find no takers for Henry


Last modified Sun., July 03, 2005 - 12:57 AM
Originally created Sunday, July 3, 2005
By VITO STELLINO, The Times-Union

When Buffalo Bills president Tom Donahoe was asked about the status of running back Travis Henry last week, he responded, "He's available.''

He then jokingly added, "Are you interested?''

Donahoe can't figure out why he's having so much trouble trading Henry, who became expendable when he lost the starting running back job to Willis McGahee last year.

When Henry asked to be traded at the end of last year, Donahoe asked for a second-round pick for him.

After finding no takers, he lowered his demand to a third-round pick.

"We're not going to budge. We feel we've already lessened the asking price. We don't think we could go below that. We think we're giving away for a three,'' Donahoe said. "We think that a three is pretty fair for a starting caliber running back, somebody who's been to the Pro Bowl. It's been perplexing to us why we haven't been able to get it done.''

Henry is only 26, and he has rushed for more than 1,300 yards twice -- although he only gained 326 yards last year when McGahee became the featured back.

"It's frustrating for us and frustrating for Travis,'' Donahoe said. "We understand how he feels. Wherever he ends up, he'll add tremendous toughness. He's played with broken ribs and a hairline fracture in his leg. He lines up and plays. It's not a case where we want to trade Travis. Selfishly, I would love to have him on our team. I really respect him. I haven't been around too many football players tougher than him.''

One problem: Henry is in the final year of his contract, so unless a team can reach an agreement on a long-term deal, a team trading for Henry would risk losing him as a free agent after one year.

Donahue said he gave some teams, including the Jaguars, the right to negotiate with Henry's agent, Hadley Engelhard, but hasn't heard back.

Paul Vance, who negotiates for the Jaguars, said he had preliminary conversations with Engelhard a few months ago, but said they aren't currently involved in any talks.

Because the offseason programs are over and the start of training camp is almost a month away, the Henry talks aren't likely to heat up for several weeks.

Henry has skipped the Bills' offseason program and might be a no-show for training camp if he's not dealt.

If the Bills don't get a third-round pick, Henry will have to play for the Bills if he wants to play this year.

Lawless in KC


In the end, the Chiefs couldn't afford Ty Law , whom they really wanted to team up with Patrick Surtain , so they opted for 13-year veteran Ashley Ambrose to add depth. The Chiefs showed a lot of interest in Law, but with Law wanting top dollar and still just 85 percent healthy, it didn't add up. The Chefs need a sure thing to round out a much-improved defense. Law still has the Buccaneers, Jets, Colts, Steelers, and Jaguars on hold, with offers in hand from most of them. He'll wind up at one of those places (and don't rule out the Browns), but he might have to set his salary sights slightly lower.

Not so fast
Interesting Note

It is not so easy to get a quick touchdown against the AFC East. Since the start of the 2003 season, the Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, and New York Jets have surrendered the fewest touchdowns in the NFL on scoring drives of four plays or fewer. Each club has allowed only five such touchdowns in the last two years. The Bills allowed an NFL-low one touchdown on a drive of four plays or fewer last season. The last team to give up only one such touchdown in a season was the 2001 Chicago Bears. ''We stress that we don't want to give up any big plays early and that we want to make offenses work to get first downs," Bills defensive coordinator Jerry Gray said. ''The longer the opposing offense is on the field and the more they have to work for yards, the greater the chance that they will make a mistake."

07-03-2005, 01:13 PM
I was on ESPN.com and clicked on the videos of the day.. I heard that T.O might, and I say Might be traded by the begining of training camp.. Thats wild, one of the contenders that might have him is.. who else??? The Raiders. Randy Moss was interviewed and asked about it.. That would be a scary offense, no matter how much Kerry Collins sucks!!

Take it for what it is worth.

Eagles not about to allow Owens to hoop it up

Posted on Sat, Jul. 02, 2005 By Bob Brookover

Inquirer Staff Writer

Terrell Owens, in the midst of a much-publicized contract dispute with the Eagles, wants to turn his attention to basketball, and the Sacramento Kings are willing to grant his wish.

The Kings told Owens that he could play alongside hip-hop magnate Master P on their summer-league squad, which will consist of the team's draft picks, plus free agents and young veterans.

The catch is that Owens needs permission from the Eagles, and he is not going to like his employer's position on this issue any more than the stance the team has taken on his desire to renegotiate his seven-year contract.

An Eagles spokesman said yesterday that team president Joe Banner had not been contacted by the Kings, but if and when he was, permission for Owens to get his basketball fix will be denied.

Owens' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said he had not received word from the Kings or the Eagles about the possibility of the star receiver's playing for the Kings' summer-league squad.

"He wants to do this very badly," Rosenhaus said. "Everyone knows his passion for the game. It's always something that he has had an interest in, and he'll be disappointed if he does not get the chance.

"The Kings extended the invitation, but they said they wouldn't be able to follow through unless they got permission from the Eagles."

The Kings published their summer-league roster on their Web site yesterday. It included 6-foot-4 guard Percy Miller, better known as Master P. It did not include Owens, who is better known for a lot more things than for playing basketball.

Owens has spoken often about his affection for basketball, and he has some talent for the sport. He was a three-year member of the basketball team at Tennessee-Chattanooga, starting five games. The 1995 squad qualified for the NCAA tournament.

Owens won a celebrity dunk competition at the 2000 NBA All-Star Game in Oakland, Calif., and played with the Adirondack Wildcats of the United States Basketball League in 2002.

With the Aug. 1 training-camp reporting date for Eagles veterans now less than a month away, there is no change in Owens' contract situation. There also is no truth to the recent rumor that he might be traded to the Oakland Raiders for wide receiver Jerry Porter.

"Everybody has asked me about the trade rumor with Oakland, and that's obviously not accurate," Rosenhaus said. "Terrell has said he's receptive to the idea of playing for another team, but I do not have permission to seek a trade at this time.

"I've talked to the Eagles. I'm not going to get into who I've talked to, but their position hasn't changed, and neither has ours."

07-03-2005, 01:15 PM
Let's hope he holds out to at least after week 4 ;)

As camp nears, don't be surprised to see less of Seymour

[url]Not so fast
Interesting Note

It is not so easy to get a quick touchdown against the AFC East. Since the start of the 2003 season, the Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, and New York Jets have surrendered the fewest touchdowns in the NFL on scoring drives of four plays or fewer. Each club has allowed only five such touchdowns in the last two years. The Bills allowed an NFL-low one touchdown on a drive of four plays or fewer last season. The last team to give up only one such touchdown in a season was the 2001 Chicago Bears. ''We stress that we don't want to give up any big plays early and that we want to make offenses work to get first downs," Bills defensive coordinator Jerry Gray said. ''The longer the opposing offense is on the field and the more they have to work for yards, the greater the chance that they will make a mistake."

Pats, Jets and Bills....all formiddable opponents of our beloved Bolts. I could see our offense get put to the test in these 3 games along with the Steelers, Eagles and possibly the Chiefs.

Hopefully Marty will let Cam do the creative playcalling at the end of games here on out.

07-04-2005, 11:23 AM

Monday, 07/04/05 By DAVID CLIMER Senior Writer

Wonder if Mike Heimerdinger ever realizes he did such a lousy job.

I mean, from the comments coming out of the Titans' locker room, you'd swear Heimerdinger ran the team's offense like he was Capt. Hazelwood aboard the Exxon Valdez. This thing sputtered along until it scraped bottom and started oozing muck all over the place.

In the rush to praise new offensive coordinator Norm Chow, some of those on the premises have leveled backhanded criticism of his predecessor. Chow is the flavor of the month, Heimerdinger the bad aftertaste of the previous five seasons.

Early on in minicamp, quarterback Steve McNair said he felt "unleashed" because of the different opportunities Chow's offense presented.

He noted that the idea now is to get first downs by throwing to different receivers out of diverse formations instead of focusing on quick-strike touchdowns.

"Dinger was a guy who was going to try to burn you every play on the deep ball," McNair said.

Really? That would come as a surprise to a lot of defensive coordinators around the NFL. The Titans didn't exactly specialize in going vertical during Heimerdinger's five-year stay in Nashville.

In fact, the Titans averaged 11.7 yards per completion while Heimerdinger was calling plays. Last year, the Colts averaged 13.1 yards per completion.

Clearly, there is a difference between perception and results. So much for revisionist history.

OK, it's no secret that Heimerdinger grated on some of the players' nerves. His form of positive reinforcement was to tell a player that he hadn't screwed up too bad. If you didn't have a crocodile's skin, it left a mark.

Tight end Erron Kinney called it "a more positive atmosphere" under Chow.

Indeed, Chow is less likely to incite, more likely to offer insight.

But for all the good vibes in the huddle since Chow's arrival, don't sell Heimerdinger short. As Eddie George's legs began to fail, 'Dinger rang up some big offensive numbers with a passing game that made McNair a star.

If memory serves, he was responsible in no small part for helping shape McNair into the league's co-MVP in '03. He also helped mold Billy Volek into the quintessential No. 2 quarterback, capable of stepping in and winning games at a moment's notice.

Heimerdinger squeezed production out of the passing game when the Titans lacked superstar power at wide receiver. Derrick Mason was a go-to guy, but hardly a big-play threat. Drew Bennett developed beyond anybody's wildest dreams. Justin McCareins made a splash and then was traded. Tyrone Calico remains a compelling talent but an unproven commodity.

Through it all, Heimerdinger found ways to get the ball from Point A to Point B with stunning regularity.

In time, Chow's offense may exceed anything Heimerdinger accomplished. With multiple formations, shifts and motion packages, he will attempt to create matchup problems for opposing defenses. It all looks good on paper.

But the jury is out. Chow is coming to the pro game after a career in college ball. And he will not benefit from the talent disparity that sometimes made his Southern Cal Xs and Os look more like Xbox versus Pong.

So give 'Dinger his due. The Jets did. They more than doubled his salary to lure him north.

Not bad for a guy that did such a lousy job. •

Alexander won't sign $6.32M tender

Monday, July 4, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

By José Miguel Romero Seattle Times staff reporter

Always one to speak his mind, Shaun Alexander's message came through loud and clear. He won't play unless he gets a long-term contract, but he remains confident that will happen.

Otherwise, Alexander is prepared to sit and wait, even into the regular season.

Alexander said signing the team's $6.32 million franchise tender is "out of the question." When asked if it will come down to not playing without a long-term deal, he replied, "Pretty much, yeah."

"I'm pretty strong about my principles," the Seahawks Pro Bowl running back said yesterday at the Adonai Hood Classic basketball tournament at Seattle's Garfield High School. "We're all under the same understanding. It's not like a bitter thing. I've told them that I love playing for Seattle. To me, it's not about money, it's just about a principle."

Alexander refuted any notion he and coach Mike Holmgren have a strained relationship, in part because Alexander fell 2 yards short of the NFL rushing title last season. Still he seems intent on standing fast, despite the fact he wants to be in Seattle and the team has expressed a desire to keep him. The Seahawks gave Alexander the franchise tag this offseason to keep him from becoming a free agent.

Alexander wanted to have his contract extended earlier in his career, he said.

"I told them three years ago that I love playing here and let's do something now. Let's meet," Alexander said. "It was just me and Mike [Holmgren]. There were no agents involved. I said, 'You know what? My wife's here. My family's here. I want to be here until I retire. It's really funny because back then I would have worked for peanuts.

"Two Pro Bowls and 3,000 yards and 36 touchdowns later, now it's time to talk? And I'm like, 'Why would you do this?' So now it's just one of those things where I say, 'Let's do what's right.' I'm not trying to be evil or greedy or anything, let's just do what's right."

The Seahawks are forbidden to reopen negotiations with Alexander until July 15, per NFL rules. Until then, Alexander will wait. He is high on the roster additions made by new team president Tim Ruskell, but has informed Holmgren of his convictions regarding a new contract.

"I honestly believe that they're going to make a great deal for me," Alexander said. "I'm going to end up signing and it's going to be no big deal. I'm not naive to think that you can make a deal like that overnight."

[B]Tice apologizes to new owner

Last update: July 4, 2005 at 6:34 AM Sid Hartman, Star Tribune

Zygi Wilf, the majority owner and chairman of the board for the Vikings, got a phone call from coach Mike Tice last week. The Vikings coach called after he was fined $100,000 by the NFL; he wanted to apologize for the mistake he made in scalping Super Bowl tickets.

"He apologized both to me and the team and the fans," Wilf said. "Again, we both spoke about looking forward to a great season, and hopefully we can get this behind us."

Coming off a vacation in Colorado, Wilf will be in town this week and plans to spend a lot of time here with the season approaching.

Wilf will continue to discuss stadium issues, primarily the Anoka County site. He is interested in building a complex around the stadium, which would include a facility that would allow the training camp to be in Blaine instead of Mankato.

"Depending on the acreage that is involved, of course there will be the stadium," he said. "We'll also have, hopefully, a Hall of Fame walk for the Vikings, a shopping facility and housing. It all depends, of course, on how much land will be made available to us, in our attempt to make this a world-class venue for both sports and for an entertainment venue."

Wilf still favors an open-air stadium but has ideas about how to satisfy fans who don't.

"Since I announced that idea, several weeks or months ago, I got some feedback from many people," he said. "Many people are enthused about an open-air venue. Again, much of the football season takes place in the months of September, October and November, and it's a very nice time of the season to enjoy football.

"We would still certainly look at the open-air venue being in a closed environment. Certainly the suites or certain seats will be available in closed environment. We're going to try and reach out and be able to satisfy everyone's demands."

Wilf is committed to building the finest stadium in the NFL.

"That's exactly what we're looking for," he said. "Right now, we're in the process of meeting with several planners, but more important, during the season as I have a chance to visit the different venues we visit on our away games, I'll have chances to spend time with the owners of those teams and with the people of the stadium authorities there and review what they've done and see what's the best.

"We're lucky that at the end of the cycle of stadiums, we're able to go ahead and pick and choose from the best of all of them so we can deliver, like I state always, the best world-class venue that the Twin Cities can have."

Wilf said he is very happy with the current Vikings staff at Winter Park and doesn't plan any changes.

07-05-2005, 06:29 PM
2005 training camps: Sites & report dates

Team Site Location Rookies Veterans
Baltimore McDaniel College Westminster, Md. July 31 July 31
Buffalo St. John Fisher College Pittsford, N.Y. July 29 July 29
Cincinnati Georgetown College Georgetown, Ky. July 28 July 28
Cleveland Cleveland Browns Training Facility Berea, Ohio July 24 July 29
Denver Paul D. Bowlen Memorial Centre Englewood, Colo. July 28 July 28
Houston Houston Texans Practice Facility Houston, Texas July 29 July 29
Indianapolis Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Terre Haute, Ind. July 27 July 27
Jacksonville ALLTEL Stadium Jacksonville, Fla. July 29 July 29
Kansas City University of Wisconsin-River Falls River Falls, Wis. July 28 July 28
Miami Dolphins Training Center Davie, Fla. July 24 July 24
New England Gillette Stadium Foxboro, Mass. July 24 July 28
N.Y. Jets Hofstra University Hempstead, N.Y. July 29 July 29
Oakland Napa Valley Marriott Napa Valley, Calif. July 28 July 28
Pittsburgh Saint Vincent College Latrobe, Pa. July 31 July 31
San Diego Chargers Park San Diego, Calif. July 26 July 29
Tennessee Baptist Sports Park Nashville, Tenn. July 29 July 29

Team Site Location Rookies Veterans
Arizona Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, Ariz. July 31 July 31
Atlanta Atlanta Falcons Training Facility Flowery Branch, Ga. July 25 July 25
Carolina Wofford College Spartanburg, S.C. July 29 July 29
Chicago Olivet Nazarene University Bourbonnais, Ill. July 23 July 23
Dallas Marriott Residence Inn Oxnard, Calif. July 28 July 28
Detroit Detroit Lions Training Facility Allen Park, Mich. July 24 July 28
Green Bay St. Norbert College De Pere, Wis. July 25 July 27
Minnesota Minnesota State University Mankato, Minn. July 29 July 29
New Orleans New Orleans Saints Complex Metairie, La. July 29 July 29
N.Y. Giants University at Albany Albany, N.Y. July 28 July 28
Philadelphia Lehigh University Bethlehem, Pa. July 29 Aug. 1
St. Louis Rams Park St. Louis, Mo. July 28 July 28
San Francisco San Francisco 49ers Complex Santa Clara, Calif. July 28 July 28
Seattle Eastern Washington University Cheney, Wash. July 26 July 28
Tampa Bay Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex Lake Buena Vista, Fla. July 28 July 28
Washington Redskins Park Ashburn, Va. July 31 July 31
* Dates subject to change

El Relámpago
07-06-2005, 05:22 PM
Anyone going to the Training camps? I will try on Friday or Sat, but I'm going to Street Scene!

07-06-2005, 05:54 PM
Jackson hires agent of change
Packers' nose tackle signs with Rosenhaus, wants a new deal



Posted: July 5, 2005
Green Bay nose tackle Grady Jackson has become the latest member of the Packers to join the roster of agent Drew Rosenhaus, and his first order of business Tuesday was to have Rosenhaus call the team seeking a new contract.

According to Rosenhaus, Jackson is "very dissatisfied" with his current deal and probably won't report to training camp if the Packers don't rework it. Jackson, 32, has one year left on a two-year, $2.31 million extension he signed at the end of the 2003 season.

The deal was restructured before the end of last season so Jackson could more easily earn money tied to a weight clause, and he was advanced $65,000 of his $665,000 base salary on May 2. If Jackson earns a good portion of the $250,000 in performance incentives he has, he will make around $1 million this season.

On Tuesday, Jackson joined wide receiver Javon Walker and running back Najeh Davenport as the most recent Packers to join forces with Rosenhaus, who is well known in these parts for directing Walker to skip all off-season activities. Rosenhaus gave no indication that Walker would be present when veterans report for training camp if his contract isn't reworked and Jackson might very well stay away, too.

"That's a consideration, definitely," Rosenhaus said of a Jackson holdout. "Obviously, he wouldn't have changed agents if things had been going well. It seems he hasn't made the progress he wants to and that's why he hired me. He reached out to me."

It's unlikely the Packers will change their opinion about extending Jackson's deal since they have refused for months to do it with his previous agent. Jackson has had arthroscopic knee surgery each of the past two off-seasons and the combination of his age and injury history won't put them in a giving mood.

Their biggest concern, should he hold out, would be the inability to monitor his conditioning and weight. The plan was to limit his practice time during camp and the regular season to help keep his legs fresh, but he would be supervised daily by the team's weight and conditioning staff if in attendance.

Rosenhaus spoke with Packers vice president of finance Andrew Brandt on Tuesday to gauge the team's interest in extending Jackson's deal, but was met with resistance and came away with no indication the issue would be addressed before training camp starts for veterans July 29.

General manager Ted Thompson did not return a phone message.

Though Davenport doesn't appear to be a holdout candidate, Rosenhaus said both Walker and Jackson weren't likely to report without new deals. They probably will be joined by tight end Bubba Franks, who has yet to sign the automatic one-year, $2.095 million offer he received as a result of being named a transition player.

He is holding out hope for a long-term deal. Jackson also would like that security given he is nearing the latter part of his career.

"We're not on the same page on this," Rosenhaus said. "Right now, definitely we have some problems. We'll be considering our options whether that's not coming to training camp or a potential trade. But Grady's definitely dissatisfied. The current deal won't work for us."

Jackson was previously represented by James "Bus" Cook, who negotiated the contract Jackson is currently under and who is also the agent for quarterback Brett Favre. According to a spokesman at the NFL Players Association, Jackson terminated his business relationship with Cook on June 23 and officially became Rosenhaus' client on Tuesday.

Jackson played only 38.5% of the Packers' defensive snaps last season, in part because of a dislocated kneecap he suffered in the season opener, which forced him to miss five games. He also sat out the season finale against Chicago to rest for the playoffs.

When he has been healthy, the 350-pound Jackson has been a vital cog in the Packers' defense, serving both as a run-stuffer and third-down pass-rusher. Last year, Jackson had 36 tackles and a sack in 10 regular-season games.

But statistics haven't always measured his value to the team. Since signing with the Packers as a free agent on Nov. 4, 2003, the Packers are 15-6, including playoff games. They are 2-4 in games in which he did not play.

The Packers have several young, promising tackle prospects in James Lee, Donnell Washington and Corey Williams, but they would love to have Jackson anchoring the middle again in new defensive coordinator Jim Bates' system. If they continue to have problems with veteran Cletidus Hunt, Jackson's absence would be a blow.

"He will be a key, key contributor," Rosenhaus said. "I've followed Jim Bates' defense (in Miami) and I know it's important to him to be strong up the middle at defensive tackle. Grady is that guy. He's one of the most important guys on their defense."

Two other tackles have signed multi-year contracts like the one Jackson seeks. Pat Williams, 32, was a free agent who signed a three-year, $13 million deal with Minnesota that includes $6 million in bonuses. Ted Washington, 37, was a free agent last year when he signed a four-year deal with Oakland for $14 million, including $4 million in bonuses.

Redskins rushing to try to sign picks


By David Elfin
July 6, 2005

Only one of the six players chosen by the Washington Redskins in April's draft is under contract with training camp opening in 26 days.
Eric Schaffer, Washington's main contract negotiator, just returned from vacation and immediately resumed negotiations with the agents for the five unsigned rookies. The Redskins have about $3.5 million left in their rookie salary cap pool.
Redskins vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato said he hoped deals would be done with fourth-rounder Manuel White, fifth-rounder Robert McCune and seventh-rounder Nehemiah Broughton by the end of next week. That would leave just first-rounders Carlos Rogers and Jason Campbell without contracts headed into the last two weeks before camp.
Sixth-rounder Jared Newberry signed a three-year deal in June.
Meanwhile, Edward Carhart, Sean Taylor's attorney in the safety's felony assault case, said he isn't fazed by the possible plea bargain of his client's co-defendant, Charles Caughman. Carhart said after further discovery in the case he's more convinced than ever of Taylor's truthfulness regarding the June 1 incident. State attorney's spokesman Ed Griffith said his office in Miami is continuing to investigate other "persons of importance" in the case.
Caughman, who faces a maximum of 15 years for his felony assault charge (compared to Taylor's mandatory minimum of three years if convicted) is due in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court on Monday, one day before Taylor is scheduled to appear before Judge Mary Barzee. Taylor's trial is tentatively set for Sept. 12, the day after the Redskins open the season at home against the Chicago Bears.

07-06-2005, 05:57 PM
Two Burning Questions to Ponder in July
Date: Jul 5, 2005

Question 1: Who is going to start at linebacker?

Right now the Chiefs have a pleasant quandary at the linebacker position, one that no one expected to have at the end of last season. There are only three starting linebacker spots and a lot of talented linebackers to throw at them. In addition to acquiring Kendrell Bell, the Chiefs got an absolute steal in Derrick Johnson at the 15th pick of the draft. As if that wasn’t enough, Keyaron Fox has been playing absolutely out of his mind. The Chiefs have a glut of outside linebackers that can play. There are still some questions at middle linebacker, but the Chiefs have some good talent there also.

Vying for playing time in the middle are Kawika Mitchell, NFL Europe MVP Rich Scanlon, rookie Boomer Grigsby and fan favorite Mike Maslowski. Those are all solid guys, but if the Chiefs decided to put the top three linebackers on the field, it wouldn’t include either of them. There are whispers that Chiefs may place either Bell or Fox at the middle linebacker spot.

So do the Chiefs play one of the existing middle linebacker candidates? Or do they move one of the outside linebackers to middle? It’ll be interesting to see who starts at middle linebacker once camp opens.

Question 2: Who will replace Eric Warfield, in the event of a suspension?

The Kansas City front office has done a good job shoring up the Chiefs weakest position this offseason. Despite this, they are still thin at corner. There is some very good talent beyond the starters, but there needs to be a clear cut fill in for Warfield if he gets suspended as a result of his DUI last year.

Dexter McCleon will battle Ashley Ambrose who signed a one-year contract last week for the nickel back, but the Chiefs don’t have a lot of confidence in McCleon as a starter or a back-up to man the outside for any length of time. Second year man Benny Sapp is a good cover man, but he may be too short to play outside. Though Sapp is the teams best blitzing cornerback, his all around skills need work. Rookies Alphonso Hodge and Justin Perkins are talented, but not experienced enough to contribute against the stiff competition the Kansas City will face at the beginning of the season.

Kansas City is still in the market for a veteran corner despite signing Ambrose. The main target is Ty Law who is still on the market, and still mending from the foot injury he suffered last season. He won’t last much longer, so the Chiefs need to make a decision. If healthy, Law could be the permanent starter for the Chiefs this year playing opposite Patrick Surtain. If indeed Law is signed and available to start the season opener, then Kansas City would have as talented a trio of cornerbacks on the roster as any in the NFL.

There are still options, but the Chiefs need to have a plan in place by the start of camp. The Warfield decision may come once camp has already started. Look for Kansas City to get proactive in the next couple of weeks.

Now is the quiet before the storm. Soon, the training camp rubber will meet the road, and the decisions of the off-season will be put to the test. Before the Chiefs can fully relax, there are still some decisions that have to be made and another player or two added to the final roster before they start hitting each other later this month in River Falls, Wisconsin.

07-06-2005, 07:19 PM

June 30, 2005 By Clark Judge CBS SportsLine.com Senior Writer

The San Diego Chargers have the talent to repeat in the AFC West, but there's something about this team that disturbs me -- and it has nothing to do with Drew Brees looking over his shoulder at Philip Rivers.

No, the problem is the road. There aren't just speed bumps ahead; there are potential sinkholes.

Look at the club's schedule, and you find five games in the Eastern Time Zone -- including a Dec. 18 date with Indianapolis, which never deviates from Eastern Standard Time. Traveling three time zones is hard enough -- NFL clubs were a combined 13-18 doing it last year -- but look at how the Chargers must do it this season.

At New England. At Philadelphia. At the New York Jets. At Indianapolis. And at Washington.

OK, so Washington's a potential breather. Look at what's left. There are four playoff teams with a combined record of 49-15, including the Super Bowl finalists. Now let's look at their home records: New England was unbeaten, Philadelphia and Indianapolis lost once each and the Jets twice.

That's a 28-4 record -- 32-4, if you include the playoffs -- and it could be a problem for the Chargers.

Sure, it can be overcome. The San Francisco 49ers won 19 straight road games from 1988 through 1990, but they had Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott and Jerry Rice. The Chargers lost only three road games a year ago, but compare that to their 7-1 record at home and you can see why this could become an issue.

"In a perfect world I'd play 16 games at home," said San Diego coach Marty Schottenheimer. "And not just for the benefit of not traveling; but for the benefit of the support of your fans. But when the schedule first comes out I look for how the games fall; where the bye week is and if there are any back-to-back road trips.

"A year ago, the Carolina-Atlanta thing was a monster (the Chargers traveled to each in consecutive weekends), and we went 1-1. So it all comes down to understanding that the schedule is what it is, and you're wasting your time worrying about it."

Maybe he won't worry, but we will. And so should the Oakland Raiders, one of San Diego's AFC West rivals. They not only have four games in the Eastern time zone, but two of them occur in the first three weekends -- against New England and Philadelphia.

That's the bad news. The good is that the Raiders don't make another East Coast swing until Nov. 20 when they play Washington and follow their Sept. 25 date at Philadelphia with four straight weekends at home -- including an Oct. 2 bye.

The Chargers catch no such breaks. They have two eastern games in October, two in November and one in December -- followed the next weekend by a game in Kansas City.

It's uncharted territory for the division champs, and it's one reason to wonder if they succumb to gravity. The Chargers never played five eastern games in one year, though as members of the AFL they were forced to play at Buffalo, Boston (Patriots) and New York three successive weekends for six consecutive years .

They were 9-6-3.

That's not only acceptable; it's respectable. So is this: Since the NFL-AFL merger the Chargers played four eastern road games in one year six times, with an 11-12-1 record to show for it.

Now look what happened to Schottenheimer's club last season. Its most impressive game down the stretch was not its win at home over Denver but its loss on the road to Indianapolis. The Chargers were supposed to get drilled, yet they dominated a formidable opponent -- leading 24-9 -- and would've won if their special teams hadn't self-destructed in the second half.

They lost by a field goal in overtime.

"There's no doubt this is tough," Schottenheimer said of this year's schedule, "but think about it this way: Find your way into the playoffs having beaten a few of those teams on the road, and you're going to have a very positive sense about yourself going into the competition -- even if you have to travel."

07-06-2005, 07:40 PM
Cowboys, Arlington Finalize Stadium Deal


By Nick Eatman
DallasCowboys.com Staff Writer
June 30, 2005, 7:55 PM (CDT)

ARLINGTON, Texas - Apparently, completing deals for $650 million football stadiums is an extensive process.

Nearly eight months after the initial referendum passed on the November ballot to build the Cowboys a new, state-of-the-art stadium, and about four months after signing the initial contracts to begin the process, the Cowboys and the City of Arlington on Thursday completed the final step of the deal, the last major hurdle before construction begins.

Basically, the July 1 deadline was the last time either side could back out on the deal. But both Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck signed the necessary paperwork to fully continue the process to build the Cowboys a new home in Arlington.

"This will unquestionably be the most important projects, in terms of economics, this will be the most important sports venue ever built in this country," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said during a Thursday afternoon press conference at the Arlington Convention Center. "So we should take this seriously. There's no turning back today. That's what this deal means, regarding Arlington, the Dallas Cowboys and our future together."

Jones, who was accompanied by his wife Gene, and sons Stephen and Jerry Jr., took the stage along with Cluck and other Arlington city council members.

While Thursday seemed to be more of a formality, Cluck said its significance was just as important, maybe even more so than the previous deadlines.

"This is a very special day, to the City of Arlington and the Dallas Cowboys," Cluck said. "We've had many special days in this process. We've had the day in November when the voters resoundingly said, 'Yes.' And from that time, we had a deadline of July 1, in which we worked out the final details.

"Again, we've had many big days, but for me personally, this is probably the biggest. Because now, we know, for sure, the Dallas Cowboys, first of all will build the stadium. And most importantly, they're going to build a stadium in Arlington, Texas."

With that out of the way, the Cowboys will move on to the next steps in the process, including introducing the stadium's design and the actual ground breaking ceremony, as well.

"We should be, sometime in the fall, revealing what our design will look like." Jones said. "And we thought all along, at some point next year, to start breaking ground. Those are the key dates in my mind."

With training camp about a month away, beginning July 28 in Oxnard, Calif., this has been a time for Jones to focus more on stadium issues. In fact, the Cowboys owner just returned Thursday from London, where he witnessed firsthand the construction of the new Wembley Stadium, a $757 million project that will facilitate premier soccer and rugby leagues, track and field events, and could be the host site for a future Olympics.

"We saw, right there, everybody was working like bees," Jones said. "We're not talking about a rally, but people were doing things. There were 3,000 workers at the stadium. Three thousand workers! I don't mind telling you, it was awesome. Just seeing what kind of impact that stadium can do for that area is very exciting and that's what we're looking to do with this stadium and the city of Arlington."

By a 55-45 percent vote in November, Arlington taxpayers voted "Yes" for a half-cent sales tax increase so the city can fund its $325 million portion of the project which calls for Jones and the Cowboys to fund the other half out of private funds, considered the biggest expenditure by an NFL owner funding a stadium.

The plan also calls for the Cowboys to pay the city $2 million in yearly rent, starting in 2009 when the stadium is projected to be completed, along with a five-percent fee on any naming rights sold for the new stadium up to $500,000 a year.

The 75,000-seat stadium, which can be expanded to 90,000, will include a retractable roof, unique open end zones for fans to hang out, state-of-the-art video boards and a Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame museum where the franchise's history will be on display, certain to become a year-round destination.

The Cowboys are counting on the new stadium attracting several major sporting events, including the Super Bowl. NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue talked about the almost certain probability of Arlington being granted a Super Bowl for 2011 when he visited the area last fall.

The Cowboys are also hoping the stadium will attract other major events such as the Bowl Championship Series in college football, as well as the annual Red River Shootout between Oklahoma and Texas, which has been held at the Cotton Bowl since 1929. The stadium also is expected to attract major concerts looking for a big venue with the comfort of a roof if needed.

The Cowboys have played in Texas Stadium since 1971, the same year other NFL cities introduced new stadiums, such as Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Cincinnati - all having recently built brand-new stadiums.

07-06-2005, 08:15 PM
San Diego needs to get off their azzes ....

Wonder where I read that? :D

Even a chance at a ballot proposal is still a year and a half away ..... This needs to get done in SD !!!

07-06-2005, 11:09 PM
hey all,

Everyone will give their good opinions so I'll give my worries about the club. Keep in mind there's only two of them.

1. I'm disgruntled about our current pass rush situation. Merriman will be gone for a while and when he comes back I have a gut feeling he will me a pass rushing dissapointment. We have Phillips, but in all reality Leber will get the brunt of the playing time and while he is an AWESOME run stopper, he doesn't fill our pass rushing needs.

2. This one kind of interferes with #1, our pass defence. I love Florence, but I don't know if him and Jammer will have effective years: it's 50/50. I really don't know what I expect from our two safeties, pass coverage wise. I think our FS will be a huge cancer and will be why we won't make it to the AFC Championship game this year.


you guys seen this? seems pretty cool.


Those are my two worries, but if you read it, you can tell that I can easily be proved wrong.

07-07-2005, 02:16 PM
The guy is a drunk, but the Chargers should see if they can sign Koren Robinson. He would battle for the #2 or #3 receiver spot, give the Chargers a big-time deep threat.

Can you imagine an offense with Tomlinson, Gates, Mc Cardell and Robinson not to mention the Sporles guy they drafted coming out of the backfield on 3rd down?

Robinson wouldn't cost that much so the risk-reward would be in the Chargers favor. Plus, Robinson played with Phil Rivers at NC State there is also the familiarity factor.

AJ Smith, if you're reading this, SIGN KOREN ROBINSON!

07-07-2005, 03:17 PM
The guy is a drunk, but the Chargers should see if they can sign Koren Robinson. He would battle for the #2 or #3 receiver spot, give the Chargers a big-time deep threat.

Can you imagine an offense with Tomlinson, Gates, Mc Cardell and Robinson not to mention the Sporles guy they drafted coming out of the backfield on 3rd down?

Robinson would cost that much so the risk-reward would be in the Chargers favor. Plus, Robinson played with Phil Rivers at NC State there is also the familiarity factor.

AJ Smith, if you're reading this, SIGN KOREN ROBINSON!

We are very deep right now at the Wide receiver position. We are stacked with #2 and #3 receivers and probably lack a true #1, V-Jack will fill that role later on. As you stated Koren has trouble with alcohol and has had trouble catching the ball. I think it would be a bad idea to sign Koren. Save that money to lock up Gates.
And BTW Drew Brees will more than likely the starting QB for the Bolts next year.

07-07-2005, 05:51 PM
As you stated Koren has trouble with alcohol and has had trouble catching the ball. .

Not until seeing those two facts in the same sentence did I think about a possible connection. Is he chugging before gametime? lol

07-07-2005, 08:00 PM
Running back eager to return as lead ballcarrier

By Jeff Legwold, Rocky Mountain News
July 7, 2005

ENGLEWOOD - These days, the numbers simply swirl around Mike Anderson.

The Denver Broncos running back missed 17 games last season because of two torn left groin muscles. He will be 32 in September. He is almost five years removed from a 1,487-yard rushing season in 2000 that earned him the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

And now, even as Anderson basks in the happiness of being able to return from an injury that kept him on the sideline for an entire season, he finds himself trying to regain what he once had at one of the Broncos' most crowded roster positions.

"But I'm up for it," Anderson said Wednesday. "I feel refreshed. Rejuvenated. I guess with the year off I was able to get some rest. The knees stopped throbbing a little bit. What can I say? It is tough. I can already see it.

"But I'm up for that challenge."

After spending most of his time at fullback the past three seasons, Anderson was told by the Broncos at the end of the 2004 season to concentrate on playing running back this time around, certainly the news he had been hoping for as he tried to return from the injury.

On the flip side, however, while he is the only runner in the group with a 1,000-yard rushing season on his NFL résumé, Anderson finds himself in a tightly contested race to carry the football.

There is so much competition that Reuben Droughns, who led the team with 1,240 rushing yards last season, essentially was told he was headed back to fullback before he was traded to the Cleveland Browns to quench his desire for more playing time.

Tatum Bell, the Broncos' leading returning rusher with 396 yards in 2004, and Anderson likely will begin training camp getting the most work with the offensive starters.

But there also is Quentin Griffin, who began 2004 as the starter before suffering a season-ending right knee injury; Ron Dayne, a Heisman Trophy winner and New York Giants first-round pick; and Maurice Clarett, a third-round pick in the April draft.

"And you really don't have a pecking order," coach Mike Shanahan said Wednesday, the first of three days of the team's final minicamp of the off-season. "You give people as many reps as you can and once you go through the preseason games and practices, you try to figure out who is the best player."

So while there is plenty in all of that for Anderson to have some vocational worries, he said he still is trying to enjoy every minute of the chase.

Since his injury in the waning minutes of the Broncos' preseason game against the Houston Texans on Aug. 27 - because the team had suffered some injuries, Anderson was forced to play on the punt team late in the fourth quarter after he thought he was done - Anderson said he has contemplated just how quickly a football career can end.

"You're one play from losing a season or losing your career," Anderson said. "Have it taken away from you and not from your own standpoint, not from you doing it - a freak accident. . . . But I don't like to think about it, I don't like to talk about it. To me, that was last year. The injury is done and over with - I'm back.

"Right now, (young players) think you're so invincible you think you can run through a wall and nothing is going to happen to you. So you don't even think about (injuries). But when it happens to you and then you get all that time to reflect and look back - What if I would have done this? Or done that? - you get a new feeling for the game."

Shanahan said Anderson had progressed far enough in rehabilitation late last season that, had the running back not already been on the injured reserve list, he likely would have played in the Broncos' loss against the Indianapolis Colts in an AFC wild-card game in January.

"He looks good . . . ," Shanahan said. "The recovery has been strong. Hopefully, there's no setback and he can stay injury-free."

Anderson's advantage over his teammates now is that, while Bell has the kind of big-play speed Shanahan wants, Anderson has shown himself to consistently be the kind of tough, inside runner that keeps drives moving.

And during the 2004 preseason, six days before he was injured, Anderson rushed for 120 yards against the Seattle Seahawks. That, he said, showed he still has what it takes to be included in the Broncos' running back mix.

"We've got some nice, top-quality backs this year," Anderson said. "You take it from the top to bottom, look at it. . . . But to be able to come back, it's a blessing, a blessing. You've got to enjoy it."

More donkies

PLUGGING AWAY: It certainly is too early to make pronouncements on the depth chart, but during quarterback camp in May, team camp in June and minicamp this week, it has been newcomer Michael Myers with the first unit at nose tackle in the base defense, not Gerard Warren.

Myers chalks it up to his familiarity with the defensive-line scheme, which is strikingly similar to the ones he was a part of during six seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Browns.

Warren sees it another way, not that he is complaining.

"I have to come in at a whole other level than other people," he said. "The things that came along with me is not the kind of baggage other guys had behind them. Pretty much the way I feel is I have to go out and prove myself again and that's what I'm working on doing."

Defensive coordinator Larry Coyer denied any ulterior motive regarding Warren, who has been with the first-team nickel unit.

"It's just a day-to-day battle," he said, adding Warren has "been full-tilt, worked hard to learn what we want to do and been nothing but a pleasant guy."

ETC.: Cornerback Jeff Shoate (left knee surgery) still is not ready for one-on-one coverage drills, and while he still hopes to take limited practice snaps this week in team and seven-on-seven drills, he had a "flare-up" during individual drills that limited his activity. He said while he will be a little behind in training camp, "pretty much everybody's going to have the same opportunity" then, reducing the pressure to rush back without being completely healthy . . . Defensive end Trevor Pryce reported at a svelte 282 pounds, 4 below his 2004 camp weight, prompting a coach to tell him not to lose any more pounds. "I think 265 is where I'm headed," he joked. Pryce also is sporting a part-Afro, part-Mohawk hairdo he has dubbed a "Faux Bro-hawk." "I'm thinking about getting rid of it, but a lot of people seem to like it," he said . . . Defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban went through team drills for the first time with the Broncos since off-season surgeries on a shoulder and a knee. "Of course, I have to get back my timing and everything, but everything feels great," he said.

07-07-2005, 08:31 PM
Mc Cardell is their #1, the Chargers are not deep very at WR (the Colts, Raiders, and Lions ARE), they can lock up Gates and still sign Robinson, and Brees may start in '05, but it's Rivers in '06. Jerky!

07-07-2005, 08:47 PM
I think it's more likely that Caldwell will be the #1. However, we actually have a bunch of Number 2 type WR's. Kind of like New England, no true #1 but a lot of decent WR's.

07-08-2005, 08:50 PM

Every summer the NFL has a supplemental draft for players whose circumstances have changed since they declined to enter the annual April selection lottery. For every Bernie Kosar picked in July, there are a dozen never-weres. However, Thursday's supplemental draft boasts some serious talent that could cause teams to forfeit their picks in similar rounds in next April's draft.
The most coveted player available is former Southern Cal defensive tackle Manuel Wright, who visited Cincinnati, Jacksonville, Miami and Philadelphia last month. The 6-foot-6, 322-pounder certainly has the size, and he scored a decent 17 on the Wonderlic intelligence test given to all prospective draft picks.
Wright, who has been training hard in Colorado, will work out for NFL scouts today in Los Angeles. Former UNLV cornerback Charles Ealy, who starred against powerhouses Tennessee and Wisconsin last year, will follow Wright's session with one of his own in nearby Carson, Calif., today.
Former Clemson receiver Roscoe Crosby worked out in South Carolina on July 1 for nearly 20 teams, with Carolina, Chicago, Kansas City, Miami, New Orleans and the New York Giants reportedly the most interested. Because Crosby cramped up and had to cut his workout short, he plans a repeat session Tuesday, one day after that of running back Vashon Pearson, who led Mississippi in rushing last year. Former Michigan State receiver Agim Shabaj also has entered the supplemental draft.
Linebacker Michael Tolbert, who wrecked Texas A&M last fall and already has his degree from Baylor, also is eligible. So is ex-Toledo defensive end Jerome Walker and Ivory McCann, a cornerback/return man/running back from Texas Tech, who ran 40 yards in a blazing sub-4.4 seconds during his June 30 workout.

Ball State ballers -- David Letterman's network, CBS, will stop televising NFL games after this year. However, Letterman's alma mater, Ball State, strengthened its NFL ties when three Cardinals were drafted in the sixth round in April. It wasn't quite like Auburn having three players taken in the first round, but it was still special.
"That was great recognition for our school," said punter Reggie Hodges, who went 210th overall to St. Louis, rejoining Ball State receiver Dante Ridgeway (192nd) with the Rams, while safety Justin Beriault was chosen 208th by Dallas.
The Ball State alums were three of the 11 Mid-American Conference players picked, putting the conference eighth nationally. The SEC was first with 37 draftees, one more than the ACC. All but 26 of the 255 players chosen played in Division I-A. One Division III player, Michigan Tech offensive lineman Joe Berger; one NAIA player, William Penn tight end Andrew Stokes; and one junior college player, Pearl River Community College receiver Larry Brackins, were drafted.
Of the 31 players selected who weren't invited to the February scouting combine, only San Diego State linebacker Matt McCoy, who went to Philadelphia with the second to last pick of the second round, was taken on the draft's first day. By contrast, 107 players who were invited to the combine weren't drafted.
There were more linebackers (36) taken than any other position, with receivers (31) leading the way on offense. However, among the top 100, cornerback (18) was the top position, followed by linebacker (15). Just two punters, three kickers and five fullbacks were selected.
Largent's legacy -- As Seattle enters its 30th NFL season, former receiver Steve Largent remains its only Hall of Famer. Now the former Oklahoma congressman has given the Seahawks another legacy. His son, Kramer, has been assisting the team's trainers this offseason.
That's especially noteworthy because the younger Largent has spina bifida, a congenital opening or defect in the spinal column. The 19-year-old, who transferred from Seattle Pacific to his father's alma mater, Tulsa, hopes to become a full-time trainer.
Always a bridesmaid -- Buffalo is the only franchise to lose four straight Super Bowls, so it should have been no surprise Bills owner Ralph Wilson, 86, lost in the final of the 85-and-over doubles at the European Tennis Championships last month in Austria.

MSU's Shabaj enters NFL supplemental draft


Michigan State senior wide receiver Agim Shabaj (Farmington Hills Harrison) has been allowed to enter the NFL's supplemental draft.

Shabaj was declared academically ineligible late last week after falling one credit short of eligibility, which would have allowed him to play for the Spartans this year and enter the NFL draft next year.

Over the last two years at Michigan State, Shabaj gained 990 yards and scored six touchdowns. He also returned punts. He plans to work out for NFL teams on Tuesday in Farmington Hills, catching passes from MSU's Damon Dowdell (Detroit Henry Ford) or Drew Stanton (Harrison).

Popular linebacker focused on comeback
Maslowski works it out on his own
Future with the Chiefs hinges on recovery from knee injury


The compulsion to call Mike Maslowski has hit the old coach a couple of times, especially in the summer in Wisconsin, when the afternoons have a sticky two-a-day feel and the Chiefs are inching closer to training camp.

Roland Christensen stops and puts the phone down.

“I know he’s having trouble,” Christensen says. “I don’t want to impose on him too much.”

These are the times you leave “Maz” alone. In 19 days, the Chiefs leave for training camp, and the popular linebacker’s NFL future will hinge on how his surgically repaired knee holds up in River Falls. Coach Dick Vermeil says Maslowski is running at 100 percent. Maslowski isn’t saying much. He’s politely declined interview requests this summer because he doesn’t want to speak until he knows he’ll be back.

He spent offseason workouts alone, somewhere off to the side, smacking a sled while 80 sets of eyes were fixed somewhere else. When minicamp ended last month, the Chiefs broke for a short summer vacation. Maslowski left town to train at Athletes’ Performance, a high-tech workout facility in Tempe, Ariz.

If Maslowski makes it back, he’ll complete an excruciating journey that started 1½ seasons ago, when his knee twisted on Oct. 26, 2003, against Buffalo. He played two games after the injury, but was ineffective in both. If he doesn’t, he appears to have options. Christensen, his former defensive coordinator at Wisconsin-LaCrosse, says the Chiefs have told Maslowski they’ll try to find him a place in coaching, presumably in Kansas City.

“I expect him to be back and be competitive to go to work,” Vermeil says. “It’s tough when you lose all that time and all these other people come in. But that’s the National Football League. It’s almost unsympathetic because it doesn’t stand still and wait for you. It keeps going every day.”

The last time Maslowski played in a game, the Chiefs were 9-1, Derrick Johnson was a junior at the University of Texas, and Kansas City was awash with Super Bowl aspirations. Maslowski was the leader of the defense, the hard-hitting middle linebacker who broke the team tackles record in 2002.

With his shaved head and small-town underdog mentality, Maslowski quickly became a fan favorite. Local shops loaded the racks with No. 57 jerseys. Maslowski, who grew up in Thorp, Wis., population 1,600, was a lesson in persistence. He went from Thorp to Division III football to NFL Europe to the Chiefs.

He was never extraordinarily gifted. Maz’s magic came in the weight room, in the 90-degree heat of offseason workouts, running when almost everybody had retreated to the locker room. On an average day this summer, while the other injured players roamed the sidelines and watched, Maslowski stood in the corner, away from the action, running and cutting and drilling on his own.

“He’s always been a very intense, serious, hard-working type of dude,” says linebacker Shawn Barber, who’s also out with a knee injury. “Having been here a couple of years, it’s hard for somebody to see a guy working all these extra hours and out there when everybody’s resting.

“He’s doing all these extra little things to get back. That’s just who he is.”

While Maslowski, Barber and Scott Fujita tried to rehab from injuries, the Chiefs loaded up on defense. Johnson was drafted in the first round and is expected to contend for a starting job at outside linebacker. The Chiefs also picked up linebacker Kendrell Bell from Pittsburgh, and the coaching staff has been encouraged by the progress of middle linebacker Kawika Mitchell.

Time didn’t stand still for Maz. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for him, linebackers coach Fred Pagac says. Pagac says he’s privately rooting for Maslowski because of everything he’s been through and the attitude he’s kept.

He bristles at the notion that fans are already writing him off as roster casualty.

“That’s why you have camp,” Pagac says. “Positions are open. We’ll make decisions as a staff, and we’re going to try to keep the best players, we’re going to try to win games. And if he’s one of the best players, he’ll be one of the guys.”

Christensen doesn’t want to bother his guy, so he keeps up on Maslowski’s progress through the Internet. He had lunch with him last summer during training camp, before Maslowski decided to have season-ending surgery.

He was practicing just once a day. That bothered him.

“I know this is eating at his gut big-time,” Christensen says.

“He will do anything he can to get back to 100 percent. If it can be done, Mike will do it.”

07-08-2005, 08:56 PM

Kerry Collins was brought into the Raiders organization last year to add depth to the quarterback position. After starting quarterback Rich Gannon went down with a season-ending neck injury in Week 3, Collins was left to man the helm of Head Coach Norv Turner's vertical passing game and return the Raiders offense back to its 2002 prominence, when it led the league in total offense and scoring, not to mention an appearance in Super Bowl XXXVII. After a disappointing 5-11 season and a second straight year without a playoff berth, there are several questions left unanswered.
In between getting some rest and relaxation on his ranch in North Carolina and getting mentally prepared for his 11th NFL season, the Raiders veteran quarterback took the time to sit down for a conference call and answer burning questions about his evolution in a Raider jersey, what to expect from the revamped offense, Randy Moss, and much more.

Although Kerry Collins has been in the league for a decade, it's always hard to step into a situation with a new team, especially with an offense learning an entirely new system. He admits, "I was certainly learning a lot on the run last year. There's no substitute for going out there and playing and having to execute in game situations." Last year didn't turn out quite like Collins envisioned but he understands the dividends the experience will pay for the upcoming year.

"It's really going to help me for this year, having been in the offense, having run it, and having seen what works against what coverages, protections, that sort of thing," said the one-time Pro Bowler. "I really felt like I learned a lot. So, having gone through it for a year and taken a lot of snaps and seen a lot of different things, obviously makes me feel a lot more comfortable with what we're doing."

Collins is on a mission this season to prove a wily veteran can be taught new tricks. One way to speed the process is to bring in new toys. The Raiders brought their quarterback the biggest "toy" they could find, Randy Moss. The first word that comes out of Collins' mouth when you mention his new target is "fluid."

"The more we work together the more we'll get on the same page and I feel like we've gotten pretty good as far as being on the same page in the short time that we've worked together. He's got a real feel for the game and that's probably the thing that stuck out the most. He has good athletic instincts, he has a good feel for getting open, he can read body language, and the guy has all the tools to be able to get open."

As impressive as Moss obviously is on the field, it's the Moss the fans don't see which really impresses Collins. "Randy Moss comes to work everyday, he has a great attitude, he's professional, he goes out and he works hard during practice. He's a good leader. I've seen him be vocal and bring guys together and talk to guys. And he's willing to learn and a lot of guys in his position wouldn't take his approach."

The facet of the offense Moss will improve immediately is their red zone offense. The Raiders tied for ninth in the AFC in red zone conversion percentage in 2004. "Not being able to run it really well had something to do with it because there are times when they drop eight [defenders] and you have to be able to run the ball and do different things. And also, I think just from an execution standpoint, we needed to get better and I think we have gotten better." Another aspect the Raiders offense has made a priority to improve is their efficiency on third downs. "Third down, we'd obviously like to be better in, and we've got some new stuff there," said Collins.

One characteristic of the offense fans may not recognize is the newfound commitment to the run game. Last season nearly 62 percent of the plays called for the offense were pass plays. With the help of key off-season transactions, Collins believes his offense has the ability to be more balanced.

"We can be positive in the running game and I think bringing a guy like Randy in and re-signing Jerry and the threat that they bring from a passing standpoint, it's going to be hard for teams to load up the box, and I think that in itself will help the run game."

The Raiders ineffective running attack was not the only reason for the low percentage of run plays. Oftentimes the offense was forced to play from behind and air it out. The team made it a point in the off-season to boost the defense by bringing in new blood. After nabbing two coveted speedy cornerbacks in the first two rounds of the draft and signing explosive defensive end Derrick Burgess, Collins believes the fans can expect a better performance from a defensive squad that now has another year of experience under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's scheme. "We have guys over there that have committed themselves this off-season to be a better defense. I like their enthusiasm; I like their aggressiveness. I like the way they're practicing and we have guys who have emerged as leaders over there." Collins continues, "I think you've seen them take ownership of what they want The Oakland Raiders defense to be about and I think they'll be an improvement from last year."

With the several new additions and many off-season changes, it is easy to see why Kerry Collins is optimistic about the upcoming year. He is far more comfortable with the system after a full season and off-season and now he has playmakers around him to help carry the load. Collins, like the entire Raider Nation, is anxious to see improvements across the board and more tallies in the Win column this season. Hopefully by this time next year, Collins and the Raiders will have all the burning questions already answered on the field.

Quiet Griffin working way back into mix


The quiet Bronco is quietly plotting his comeback.

Running back Quentin Griffin, often overlooked in discussions regarding Denver's running back corps for 2005, said Thursday that his injured knee is nearly mended.

And even though Mike Anderson and Tatum Bell appear to be locked in a battle for the starting tailback job, Griffin said he's determined to regain a prominent place in the offense.

"I earned my spot to play and I want to do the same thing - earn it again," Griffin said after minicamp practice. "I don't mind coming in under the radar."

Speaking to reporters for the first time since suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while returning a kickoff in Denver's Oct. 25 loss at Cincinnati, Griffin vowed he has the right stuff to contribute this season.

"I think things happen, and you're going to get up or you're going to stay down," he said. "It depends what type of person you are. You'll see what I'm made of in a little bit. I'm either going to lay down or I'm going to triumph over this injury."

Griffin was a limited participant in the Broncos' team camp last month, but coach Mike Shanahan said Griffin is close to 100 percent now.

"He's practicing full speed and he's come back and he's come back well," Shanahan said. "Anytime you have an injury like that, it takes some time. But he's worked hard with the rehabilitation, and hopefully he's ready to go."

Griffin's NFL career has been a series of highs and lows. Drafted from Oklahoma in the fourth round in 2003, the 5-foot-7 scatback suffered a broken leg during his first training camp practice. He recovered in time to fill in for Clinton Portis and rush for 136 yards in a key December road victory at Indianapolis. When Portis was traded to Washington last year, Griffin earned the starting job and rushed for 156 yards in Denver's season-opening victory against Kansas City.

But Griffin's fourth-quarter fumble at Jacksonville on Sept. 19 cost Denver a chance to kick a game-winning field goal. Then he sprained his ankle Oct. 3 in a victory at Tampa Bay. That injury, coupled with him rushing for only 139 combined yards in Weeks 2-4, cost him the starting job as Reuben Droughns emerged. Griffin's frustrating 2004 season came to an end with his knee injury at Cincinnati.
Griffin's rehabilitation was slow until he underwent arthroscopic surgery in April to clean out cartilage in his knee. Since then, he has made steady progress.

"I tore my meniscus, too, with my ACL," he said. "That was the hardest thing to get over. I think it's a lot better now. I needed that surgery, to get me over the hump."

Griffin is not a power runner. He relies on quickness, and a healthy knee, to make defenders miss. Can he regain the elusiveness that enabled him to rush for 3,756 career yards at Oklahoma?

"That question plagues me all the time," he said. "But every day I think I'm getting a little bit better."

Asked if he has the confidence to carry the ball 25 times a game, Griffin said: "It's the NFL, yeah, but I did it in college. It's all up in the air, really. I've always had some type of confidence. I feel pretty good."

Griffin's knee requires daily treatment and he has yet to take a hit. But, he said, he's getting close.

"You'll know when I'm back," he said. "You'll see it."

07-08-2005, 09:45 PM
manuel wright looks like he could be a good player in the 3-4, hes definately got the size, i wonder if aj takes a look at him in the supp draft. i wouldnt mind if we were somehow able to get him for a third.

07-09-2005, 06:58 PM
Former Trojan lineman has workout for NFL teams in advance of supplemental draft.


By Sam Farmer, Times Staff Writer

Now, NFL teams can feel USC's pain.

Both have been let down by Manuel Wright.

Wright, the former Trojan defensive tackle eligible for selection in Thursday's supplemental draft, put on a lackluster performance Friday during a private workout at USC before scouts from virtually every NFL team.

"It was a microcosm of what he did in college," one team executive said. "Some good, some bad."

Even though Wright ran a 4.97-second 40-yard dash — impressive for a 6-foot-5, 329-pound man — several scouts noted he was not in top shape and looked overly winded between drills. He finished by bench-pressing 225 pounds 16 times, roughly 10 repetitions fewer than scouts typically expect from a top defensive-line prospect.

Most teams had one or two representatives at the workout, but Miami sent five, among them its general manager, defensive coordinator and defensive-line coach, who conducted some of the drills for Wright. The Dolphin contingent didn't stick around to watch the end of the workout, however, casting doubt on how much the team is willing to give up for him.

The consensus of several scouts Friday was that Wright will be selected in the third round.

The highlight of Wright's workout occurred on the track, when, after grabbing his right hamstring and aborting his first 40, he came back and turned in two good times.

"I was showing I had heart," he said. "Showing I could ride it out and stick with it."

Wright had an inconsistent career with the Trojans, one marked by flashes of excellence on the field and frequent academic struggles. He was a backup behind first-round pick Mike Patterson and second-rounder Shaun Cody. Wright was slated to be a starter in this his junior season. He applied for the supplemental draft, though, even before learning whether his grades would be good enough to keep him eligible.

He played a significant role in a goal-line stand against No. 7 California last season that helped preserve a 23-17 victory for the Trojans.

Fewer than 10 players are eligible for the supplemental draft, which is held for college players who have lost their eligibility after the regular NFL draft deadline or have decided to forgo their final year of eligibility to play professionally. The supplemental draft order is determined by lottery, and if a team selects a player, it forfeits its pick in the corresponding round of the 2006 college draft.

Among the notable players selected in supplemental drafts: former New York Jet receiver Rob Moore, former Seattle linebacker Brian Bosworth, and current San Diego defensive tackle Jamal Williams.

Posted on Sat, Jul. 09, 2005
Ex-Royals prospect takes shot at NFL
Chiefs scout sees receiver's workout



The Kansas City Star

Maybe Roscoe Crosby will find his way to Kansas City after all.

Crosby, a former Royals prospect, held a private workout for a scout from the Chiefs and representatives from 17 other NFL teams last week, his agent, Kevin Parker, said Friday.

Once the No. 1 wide receiver prospect in the nation, Crosby is now known in Kansas City for baseball and the career that never really happened. The Royals made him a second-round pick in the 2001 amateur draft and gave him a deal that included a $1.75 million bonus. But Crosby never played in the minors because of an arm injury, and the Royals recently won an appeal to void payments totaling $750,000 in signing bonuses.

A former Clemson star, Crosby is on the Royals’ restricted list, meaning the team still holds his baseball rights. The outcome of arbitration, Parker said, helped Crosby make the decision to go back to football. He hopes to be picked in Thursday’s supplemental draft.

“He was pretty much stuck,” Parker said. “He wasn’t going to be held down.

“Roscoe is a professional. When the Kansas City Royals drafted him, he was 18 years old. Whatever happened or didn’t happen, that was then. He’s 22, he’s matured. … He’s very much at peace, and he’s excited.”

On a sweltering day in South Carolina last week, former NFL quarterback Shaun King zipped passes to Crosby while the scouts watched. He ran a high 4.4 in the 40-yard dash and bench-pressed 225 pounds.

The Chiefs spent part of the summer looking for receiving help after they cut Johnnie Morton on June 2. They picked up Freddie Mitchell near the end of minicamp, but on a roster dotted with inexperience, Crosby may be an intriguing draft possibility.

When asked whether Crosby would object to going to Kansas City, Parker said, “(David) Glass doesn’t own the Kansas City Chiefs, does he?”

Crosby, a 6-foot-2, 218-pounder, hasn’t played a full season of football since 2001, when he set freshman records at Clemson for receptions and receiving yards. But Parker said Crosby has shaken off the rust with an intense workout routine, and they’re confident he’ll land somewhere.

“I’m not making him Superman,” Parker said, “but he has some gifts that made him a hot commodity in both sports.

“Whether it’s in the draft or free-agency, he’s going to be in somebody’s camp in July. That’s a given.”

07-10-2005, 04:10 PM
In an unusually strong supplemental draft, the Dolphins might take talented but unproven Manuel Wright in hopes of filling a need on the defensive line.




Coach Nick Saban has managed to keep one eye on the present and one on the future with most of his personnel moves through his first offseason with the Dolphins.

With that in mind, it will be interesting to see if he continues that process Thursday, when the Dolphins might try to fill one of their biggest remaining needs through the annual NFL supplemental draft.

The Dolphins will have a chance to select talented-but-unproven defensive tackle Manuel Wright of Southern California, considered the best of an unusually strong list of players who will be available.

The supplemental draft, which is conducted by e-mail and lasts less than two hours, usually has all the significance of the announcement of the All-NFL Europe team.

There have been a handful of good players taken since the first supplemental draft was held in 1977, most notably quarterback Bernie Kosar, running back Bobby Humphrey, linebacker Brian Bosworth, guard Mike Wahle and wide receivers Cris Carter and Rob Moore.

Most years, nondescript players like former Dolphins defensive back Calvin Jackson are available. And given that teams that use supplemental picks lose a corresponding pick in the following April's draft, they must choose wisely.

This year might be different. Aside from Wright, there are Clemson wide receiver Roscoe Crosby, who was a prep sensation three years ago before trying pro baseball and getting hurt; UNLV cornerback Charles Ealy, who has a strong combination of size and speed; and pass-rushing defensive end Jerome Walker of Toledo.


''The interesting thing is that you have some guys who are really interesting projections,'' said John Murphy, the founder of NextLevel Scouting and a highly respected draftnik. ``You have Wright and Crosby, two guys who might really have developed into first-round picks if they had been able to play. The problem is that they didn't. Crosby hasn't been on the football field for three years, but he was a consensus top-five recruit coming out of high school.''

Wright is the most intriguing player for the Dolphins. He visited the team for two days in June and could fill a huge need.

After the retirement of Tim Bowens (back problems), the Dolphins' most experienced defensive linemen are 14-year veteran Keith Traylor, 13-year veteran Jeff Zgonina and Larry Chester, who is coming back from two knee surgeries and will be limited to one practice a day in training camp.

Two-year veteran Dario Romero and rookie Kevin Vickerson also will be in camp, as well as versatile free-agent signees Kevin Carter and Vonnie Holliday. But none of those players projects as the kind of star tackle Saban could use for his defense.

Which is where Wright might enter the Dolphins' picture.

One person with knowledge of what the Dolphins think of Wright said: ``The kid has some baggage. He's talented and explosive, but he's incredibly raw.''


However, there is a strong sense around the NFL that Philadelphia will use a late second-round pick on Wright, who could eventually succeed high-priced starting defensive tackle Corey Simon.

''You're basically talking about what's almost a third-round pick if you're the Eagles,'' one NFL executive said. ``I could easily see them doing that.''

But Murphy said he thinks the talk about Wright is overblown.

''I don't think he's going to go as high as people think,'' Murphy said, referring to the idea Wright could be taken as high as the second round. ``Sure, if he had played and gotten a chance to work, he might have been [former Titans first-round pick] Albert Haynesworth. But at this point, he's probably closer to being like Marquise Hill.''

Hill, a former LSU standout, was a fifth-round pick who has been effective at times with New England.

For the Dolphins, that likely isn't a huge gain over what they already have.

Boulware needs to prove himself


• It's obvious there is something about former Baltimore Ravens star Peter Boulware that has several teams worried. He visited such teams as Houston, Cleveland and Seattle -- and no one made him an offer even close to the $2 million (plus $2 million more in incentives) that he turned down from Baltimore.

• Boulware had major knee surgery after the 2003 season and missed all of last year. He had an operation on his toe in December. Some teams want to see him work out before making a commitment, and ESPN has reported that Boulware might comply by holding an open workout to prove to teams that he is recovering.

• If Boulware has anything left and is not a physical wreck, I'd bring the linebacker to Cleveland on a contract much like the one he turned down from Baltimore -- $2 million guaranteed plus incentives. He's only 30, has exceptional character and even if he just plays in pass-rush situations, he has to help the Browns. He also likes the 3-4 defense, which coach Romeo Crennel is installing.

• Remember Ross Verba telling teams not to call him unless they wanted to offer something in the $40 million range? So far, the phone has been quiet for the former Browns tackle. Supposedly, most of his offers have been in the one-year range, and for not much more than $1 million.

• Verba doesn't realize how popping off about the Browns has led to questions about his character. Teams also know that he missed all of 2003 with a biceps injury, and he will be 32 at the end of October. He'll play somewhere, but not for the big money he expected.

Knee trouble


Jacksonville Jaguars Coach Jack Del Rio might be getting a little nervous about his running game. The reason? No one seems to be saying anything about starting running back Fred Taylor's health.

In recent weeks, Taylor has said team officials lied when they said he had arthroscopic surgery on his knee in January. Instead, he said, he had major surgery to repair ligament damage.

Taylor said he hopes to be ready for the start of the season. But the rehab from the surgery would seem to mean Taylor won't be 100 percent when training camp starts in about a month.

So, does that mean the Jags have an interest in the Buffalo Bills' Travis Henry, who is expendable because of the emergence of Willis McGahee?

The Jags say no, but Tennessee GM Floyd Reese seems to believe otherwise. The Titans also are interested in Henry.

"It sounds like [Taylor] just started [testing his knee], and [the Jags] are going to wait and see where he ends up," Reese told The Tennessean of Nashville. "I think, in Buffalo's situation, they can certainly wait and see what happens there, too. They have a fall back, which would be us, and now it is a matter of getting something else."

The Bills want a third-rounder for Henry, who has averaged 962.3 yards per season in his four-year career, but the Titans aren't willing to give up a third-rounder.

"They can just sit and wait, and I don't know how long they are going to be willing to wait," Reese said of the Bills.

07-10-2005, 08:13 PM
Posted on Sun, Jul. 10, 2005


By Stephen A. Smith Inquirer Columnist

Shhhh! That is the sound oozing out of Terrell Owens' camp right now.

Silence. Conspicuous by its nature and appropriate as well.

Because we all know that is the only strategy left for the Eagles' disgruntled wideout.

You don't need to hear, "The Eagle is away from the nest" on Owens' cell phone to know what's going on. Another season is fast approaching. Owens' contract squabble has not been resolved. A mandatory minicamp already has been skipped, and, by all indications, training camp is next on the list of things to miss.

But if Owens is smart - and boy, does he need to be smart over the next few weeks - he'll continue to say very little before training camp starts. He'll act like the boss instead of the client and make sure new agent Drew Rosenhaus is muted, as well. Then he'll go about the business of quietly trying to get something done with the Eagles.

Even if it means showing up to training camp at Lehigh University at the end of the month.

Even if it means replacing Rosenhaus as his agent.

Now, no one's advocating that Rosenhaus be dismissed. The man is an admitted shark who smirks while eating his prey. The last time I checked, he is the agent of choice for most athletes blessed with common sense.

Except it's not about right or wrong here anymore. It's not about whether Owens should honor his contract, or simply do what National Football League teams do at their discretion - arbitrarily void contracts because the collective-bargaining agreement allows them to do so.

But it can't be about Rosenhaus anymore, either.

The fact is, it has been all about Rosenhaus thus far.

"I called Andy [Reid] and talked to him," Rosenhaus was quoted as saying in the Daily News on June 20. "I mention this because I think people have the sense that I don't have a professional dialogue with him."

The Eagles refuted that claim the next day.

Time and time again, we have seen Rosenhaus' face on ESPN's SportsCenter, Rome Is Burning, Fox's Best Damn Sports Show, Period... and the list has gone on and on.

He's always got that sly smile. Always snatching attention. Somehow, some way, always noting that he has negotiated more than a billion dollars in contracts. Of course, he never fails to mention how successful he has been in doing so - even while adding how much respect he has for the Eagles organization.

Nobody's buying it because no one cares. The Eagles quietly say Rosenhaus leaked information about Owens' contract situation. Rosenhaus, meanwhile, has told everyone from Los Angeles to South Beach to Bristol, Conn., home of ESPN, that such an assertion is bogus.

Meanwhile, there is $48 million to $49 million in contract money over the next seven years that Owens is sneezing at, believing that $5 million due in a roster bonus next spring is nothing but a significant incentive for the Eagles to cut him before the 2006 season.

After recording 77 catches, 14 touchdowns, 1,200 yards, and averaging 15.6 yards per catch in just 14 regular-season games last season, Owens rightfully believes he deserves more of his dollars guaranteed. And all anyone can think about is calling him a fool.

Allow me to digress for a second. For those who think anyone who agrees with Owens is nothing more than a cheerleader and a stooge on his behalf - which I've been accused of being - please remember: I really couldn't care less. Neither Owens nor the Eagles sign my checks. There's no vested interest this way. And if Owens ends up gone from Philadelphia, so be it. Eagles fans will be the ones suffering. I will be just fine.

To me, it's too obvious what's going on. You don't get to four consecutive NFC championship games, your first Super Bowl appearance in nearly a quarter century, aim for another shot, and still plan on keeping a 31-year-old wide receiver. Especially one who probes salaries of colleagues and competitors the way Philadelphians scan cheesesteak shops. Not when you're the Eagles and the future is always on your mind.

On the Eagles' Web site, owner Jeffrey Lurie is quoted as saying that Owens "has probably been victimized by some very bad advice. He's built up such goodwill, especially with the fans. I think he'll realize that the value of goodwill is so much greater than the value of trying to break a contract."

Perhaps, he will. If he's able to live in peace and quiet. Except - from Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor, Green Bay Packers wideout Javon Walker, to Indianapolis Colts running back Edgerrin James and a host of the 40 veteran players Rosenhaus added to his NFL-high 89 clients - there is no such thing.

Life is hectic when you're on top. But it is harder when you fall.

Especially when the thump is so loud everyone hears it.

And it's even worse to stomach when someone else profits because of it.

Shanarat taking chances after playoff win drought


Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan is thinking outside the box these days.

While most teams have stopped offseason drills to rest the players and coaches before the start of the training camp grind at the end of the month, Shanahan decided to hold his mandatory minicamp last week.

"We've never done it this way before, but I thought we'd give it a try,'' he told Denver reporters last week.

Shanahan is trying a lot of different things as he attempts to recapture the magic when the Broncos won back-to-back Super Bowls in 1997-98.

His teams haven't won a playoff game since, and were routed by the Colts the last two years in the playoffs by a combined score of 90-34.

Shanahan's biggest problem is he hasn't found a quarterback to replace John Elway. Nobody has confused his current quarterback, Jake Plummer, with Elway.

Of course, finding another Elway isn't easy.

So Shanahan keeps reaching with controversial moves, such as spending big money for Brian Griese, Dale Carter and Daryl Gardener. None of those moves paid off.

This year, Shanahan has topped himself with moves even more bizarre.

To start, he traded his leading rusher for the second consecutive year. Last year, he dealt Clinton Portis, who was unhappy with his contract, for Champ Bailey. This year, he traded Reuben Droughns for two Cleveland defensive linemen -- Michael Myers and Ebenezer Ekuban.

What made that deal even more puzzling was he had already signed two former Cleveland defensive linemen (Gerard Warren and Courtney Brown) as free agents.

That means he collected four defensive linemen from a team that ranked 32nd against the run.

The NFL doesn't keep records on such things, but it's unlikely any team has ever picked up four defensive linemen from the worst rush defensive team in the league.

The fact that Shanahan hired former Browns defensive line coach Andre Patterson as an assistant coach probably played a role in his decision to get the four Browns.

In an interview on the Broncos' Web site, Patterson said that Brown and Ebenezer were slowed by injuries and Warren has matured after being dumped by the Browns.

Meanwhile, the Broncos let Bertrand Berry leave as a free agent and he registered 14 1/2 sacks in Arizona last year. This year, they didn't keep Reggie Hayward, who signed with the Jaguars after making 10 1/2 sacks in 2004.

Shanahan also signed punter Todd Sauerbrun despite his off-the-field problems, including being named by 60 Minutes in a steroid investigation.

He gambled on aging Jerry Rice and young Maurice Clarett, who was expected to go on the second day of the draft before being taken by the Broncos at the end of the first round. And he signed running back Ron Dayne, an underachiever with the Giants.

The Broncos were 10-6 the past two seasons. But Shanahan still must find a way to win a playoff game without Elway if he's to prove he's on the right track with his unconventional moves.

07-11-2005, 07:25 PM
Monday, July 11, 2005 BY DAVE HUTCHINSON Star-Ledger Staff


HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- When rookie place-kicker Nate Kaeding first set foot in the San Diego Chargers locker room last spring, he knew teammates were going to be skeptical.

After all, the Chargers were coming off a 4-12 season and had holes everywhere. But the club decided to spend a third-round pick -- the 65th selection of the draft obtained from the Giants in the deal for quarterback Eli Manning's rights -- on Kaeding.

"That was the dynamic I wanted to see," Kaeding said. "You understand the team has a lot of needs and they draft a kicker. But I found the guys looked at it with an open mind. They felt it was a need we had and hopefully something good would come out of it."

In just three weeks, when the Jets report to camp, all eyes in the Jets locker room will be on kicker Mike Nugent, selected -- amid controversy -- with the first of two second-round picks, the 47th selection overall. Nugent, from Ohio State, was the first kicker taken this year and the highest one chosen since the Oakland Raiders grabbed Sebastian Janikowski with the 17th pick overall in 2000. Nugent replaced postseason goat Doug Brien, who was released after Nugent was taken.

While the Jets' selection touched off a debate -- are kickers worth a high-round draft pick? -- it also brought to light another problem: Kickers, already seen as head cases, face even more pressure when selected with a high draft pick. Nugent will be trying to make it in the toughest sports media market, and he already has had a taste of the scrutiny here: At an earlier minicamp, media members charted each of his kicks.

"I've never had any concern with my confidence," Nugent said. "It has always been my goal that if we get to a certain goal line that we're going to get at least three points. My next step to get that confidence in everyone else -- my teammates, my coaches."

Only four place-kickers have been chosen in the first round of the NFL Draft, none in the past five years -- Charlie Gogolak (1966), Steve Little (1978), Russell Erxleben (1979) and Janikowski. The success rate has been 50-50. Gogolak and Janikowski have been successful. Little and Erxleben were not.

After playing six games in 1980, Little was released. The same day, he was involved in the automobile accident that left him paralyzed. He died in 1999 at the age of 43.

Erxleben, a bust, attempted just six field goals over two seasons with the Saints before being released. Today he is in prison on a securities fraud conviction.

There is no grace period for drafted kickers. They have to start knocking them through the uprights from the start. Nugent knows this.

"The better guys are the ones where pressure brings out the best in them," Nugent said. "That's the kind of kicker I try to be."


The value of kickers has been debated since the first goal posts were erected. Those who approve of the Jets' move point out that about 25 percent of NFL games are decided by three points or fewer. The New England Patriots have won each of their three Super Bowls in the past four seasons by three points -- two of those games decided by Adam Vinatieri's field goals.

They also point to the reason Nugent was selected by the Jets: Brien missed field goals of 47 and 43 yards in the final two minutes of regulation in a 20-17 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in a divisional playoff game.

Others argue that a glut of kickers assures there always will be a good one available, so using a valuable draft pick on a guy who makes his living with his leg is a mistake. After all, kickers bounce around like a coffin-corner punt: Of the kickers on rosters at the end of the 2004 season, only seven were playing for the teams that drafted them.

It's not surprising that Janikowski thinks the Jets made the right move. He has made 118 of 146 field goals (80.8 percent) in his five-year career.

"I wasn't surprised (Nugent) went that high," Janikowski said. "People don't realize how important a kicker is, how many game-winning field goals he can kick. We're out on the field for about 30 seconds at a time, but kick that winning field goal and everybody is happy."

At Ohio State, Nugent made 65 of 74 field-goal attempts in his final three seasons, including eight of nine from 50 yards or more. As a senior, Nugent kicked a game-winning 55-yarder against Marshall, and 40 of his 62 kickoffs were touchbacks. He set 19 school records. He was team captain and became the first kicker voted team MVP at Ohio State. He also won the Lou Groza Award as the nation's best kicker.

Coach Herman Edwards is already a believer.

"If you watch his career, he has been a guy that has played in a lot of big games," Edwards said. "He kicked a lot of tough kicks in pressure situations. He's an outdoor guy. The weather doesn't bother him. If he continues to do what he did in college, you're talking about a guy that can be here for 10 years-plus."


Nonetheless, the pick of Nugent is a risk, which is why teams don't usually draft a kicker so high. For better or worse, the Jets are stuck with Nugent for at least two seasons. And questions abound.

How will he react to his first big miss in a game-deciding situation? Does he have the right mental makeup to forget his last kick? How will the NFL's special balls that kickers use affect him?

"Drafting a kicker so high isn't the norm," Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff said. "But based on what he's done at Ohio State, he's worth it. Some kickers mature late. He's at a high level now. He has kicked at Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin. That's like playing at Buffalo and (the Meadowlands). He's an 80-percent guy in front of the big crowds.

"And he was the team captain. I mean, you can't fool the players. Of course, you never know in this business, but I think he'll hold his own."

So does Kaeding, who met Nugent a couple of years ago and spoke with him several times leading up to the draft. Kaeding believes Nugent has the personality to succeed.

"Mike and I, we pride ourselves on being athletes," Kaeding said. "We just don't look at ourselves as some quirky kicker. We understand the game. We respect the game and what our teammates go through. We're not some quirky guy who sits by himself in the corner. I don't think teams want those kind of guys, either."

Kaeding approached things with a similar bravado, an it-won't-happen-to-me attitude, before being humbled in his first game, on his first kick. In the Chargers' preseason opener, Kaeding missed a chip shot from around 25 yards.

"I was, like, 'What's going on?'" said Kaeding, smiling at the memory. "I just missed it -- wide left. I couldn't believe it. But at halftime, coach (Marty) Schottenheimer called me up in front of the whole team. He said, 'We all trust you. We all have faith in you.'

"That's the kind of support it takes. You'd like to think (the NFL) isn't different from college, but it is."

07-11-2005, 08:15 PM
I hope Nugent is a flop because he's playing for the Jets.


07-12-2005, 06:13 PM

Posted on Tue, Jul. 12, 2005


It is 15 days before the plane leaves for training camp, and negotiations for the Chiefs’ first-round draft pick have crawled to a slow but congenial pace.

The Chiefs have been involved in talks with Derrick Johnson’s representatives for about a month, his agent, Vann McElroy, said Monday. Johnson, an All-America linebacker from Texas, should figure heavily into the Chiefs’ defensive plans this fall and has said he wants to be in River Falls, Wis., on time.

“That is our whole intention here,” McElroy said. “I think the team, the NFL, so to speak, puts that on the player and the agent, that the player needs to be on time. (But) they’re part of that equation, and it has to work both ways. I believe in working with teams. I also believe the team needs to work with the player, too.”

Johnson was a pleasant surprise during offseason workouts, displaying the speed and athletic ability that earned him the Butkus Award as a senior. He was a quick study and is expected to contend for a starting job on the left side.

McElroy said it was important for Johnson to participate in the workouts so he could get to know his teammates and coaches. So far, he said, the negotiations have been running smoothly.

McElroy also represents Chiefs offensive lineman Jordan Black and played against Kansas City in his days with the Raiders.

“Derrick is very excited to be a Chief,” McElroy said. “He loves it there. He likes the people, likes the team, and loves Dick Vermeil. He was excited to get to know the coaches and see that they’re just as emotional about this stuff as he is.”

49ers hopeful QB Smith will be in camp
Contract talks with No. 1 overall pick should heat up in next two weeks
By Roger Phillips, STAFF WRITER


One of the first questions posed to Alex Smith after he was chosen first overall in April's draft was whether he anticipated any problems in negotiating a contract that would cause him to miss part of his first NFL training camp.
Smith, the Utah quarterback selected by the San Francisco 49ers, has invariably expressed optimism for a timely deal ever since.

Monday afternoon, 49ers director of football operations Paraag Marathe, the team's chief negotiator, said he remains optimistic, though an agreement still has not been reached with the start of camp only 17 days away.

"I'm operating under the assumption he'll be there for the first day of camp," Marathe said during a telephone interview Monday.

A spokesman for Smith's agent, Tom Condon, declined comment other than to say "nothing is new" with the negotiations.

Marathe said that he and Condon have been in contact 3-4 times a week, by phone, fax and e-mail, and characterized communication as "cooperative and productive." At some point in the next week or two, Marathe said Condon will visit the Bay Area for face-to-face meetings, but nothing has been scheduled.

Most of what ultimately will be a 60- or 70-page document has been written, Marathe said, which will speed the finalizing of a deal once all issues are resolved, foremost of which is the size of Smith's signing bonus.

Marathe acknowledged that the failure to this point of the NFL and the NFL Players' Association to agree on an extension of the collective bargaining agreement has complicated the negotiations.

One year ago, when Condon was negotiating 2004 No. 1 overall pick Eli Manning's contract, the New York Giants were allowed under the CBA to spread the salary-cap hit from Manning's $20 million signing bonus over six years — $3.3 million a year.

But if a new CBA is not reached before then, there will be no salary cap in 2007, and this year, teams are only permitted to spread the salary-cap hit from a signing bonus over five years. Thus, for instance, if Smith receives a $22 million bonus, the 49ers' annual cap hit would be $4.4 million.

"The biggest holdup we have is the numbers," Marathe said. "Do we both see a deal? Yes, I think we do. Right now, there's not enough urgency, but as we get closer to training camp, the urgency will increase at an exponential rate."

Marathe said his goal is for all of the players chosen by the 49ers on the draft's second day to be under contract by next week.

The unsigned second-day players are defensive tackle Ronald Fields (a fifth-rounder), cornerbacks Derrick Johnson (sixth) and Daven Holly (seventh) and receiver Marcus Maxwell (seventh). Receiver Rasheed Marshall (fifth), tackle Patrick Estes (seventh) and tight end Billy Bajema (seventh) have been signed.

Aside from Smith, Marathe said he has had only "casual conversations" with representatives for the other first-day selections: guard David Baas (second), running back Frank Gore (third) and tackle Adam Snyder (third).

Morgan's agent wants deal
Panthers linebacker about to enter final year of his rookie contract


NEW YORK - With training camp less than three weeks away, negotiations on a contract extension for Carolina linebacker Dan Morgan have made little headway.

"I'm not all that thrilled with where we are now," said Drew Rosenhaus, Morgan's agent. "We're pretty far apart; there's a big difference of opinion in respect to what the two sides think this contract should be."

Morgan is entering the last year of his contract, and Rosenhaus implied Monday that if a deal can't be reached by the start of camp July 29, Morgan could test free agency after the season.

"Once camp begins, if we don't have a deal in place, the odds start to diminish on getting one done," Rosenhaus said. "We've had some negotiations but we're still pretty far apart."

Don't expect Morgan to hold out; he's excited about this season and plans to be in camp. But he doesn't want to be bothered with negotiations once the season begins.

"I don't think he's a big fan of the negotiation process," Rosenhaus said.

Morgan, the team's top draft choice in 2001, has said he would like to remain with the Panthers. He has struggled through injuries in recent seasons, but at middle linebacker is a key member of the defense and was named to the Pro Bowl last season.

Combining base salary and his workout bonus, Morgan will make $919,000 this season. He will count more than $2 million against the salary cap. The latter figure is higher because his original signing bonus is spread over the length of the contract.

Rosenhaus is likely seeking an extension worth between $3 and $4 million annually for his client, according to league sources.

The Panthers must decide as well what to do about starting weakside linebacker Will Witherspoon, also entering the final year of his contract.

07-13-2005, 06:25 AM

Ten questions as training camps begin to stir

July 12, 2005
By Clark Judge
CBS SportsLine.com Senior Writer

5. Will Eli Manning be a success?

Yes. The Giants were smart to play him last year when he won one of seven starts. That development will benefit him now, and now is when he starts to separate himself from the pack. Remember how brother Peyton struggled in his first year? He was 3-13 and 1-6 in his first seven games. He was 13-3 the following season and forever thanked then-coach Jim Mora for not pulling him as a rookie. Eli doesn't have Marvin Harrison or Edgerrin James, but he has more weapons than his brother did and a better defense. Look at it this way: Over his last three games he twice had passer ratings of 100-plus and had a total of five touchdowns -- including three in the season finale against Dallas. Manning rallied the Giants in that game for a last-minute win, and it should catapult him -- and the Giants -- to a big season.

10. Is this the year Drew Brees belly flops?

No. Brees was too consistent far too long to believe he's another Scott Mitchell. He had 10 games without an interception and eight with two or more TD passes -- including one with five. Plus, he completed 31 of 42 for 319 yards in his first career playoff game. His surrounding cast remains the same, which means there's LaDainian Tomlinson to carry the ball and Antonio Gates to catch it. Brees was extraordinary last year, with a career-best 104.8 passer rating, 27 TDs and 7 interceptions. I don't expect him to repeat those numbers simply because the competition is better and the road tougher -- with San Diego making a franchise-high five trips into the Eastern time zone. But if the offensive line holds up under new assistant Carl Mauck, there's no reason to believe Brees won't drive this team into the playoffs again.

07-13-2005, 04:40 PM

With training camp just around the corner, things are relatively quiet around Chargers Park. The coaching staff and most of the players are taking advantage of their final days of freedom before their lives are filled with two-a-day practices and endless film sessions.

But one place that rarely experiences a lull in activity is the office of General Manager A.J. Smith. After a brief vacation, the 2004 NFL Executive of the Year was back behind the desk where so many successful decisions have been made.

The Chargers’ transaction list might not be as long as it has been in previous years, but that doesn’t mean the offseason has been any less hectic for Smith.

“We are always trying to find ways to make our football team better,” Smith said. “There is the waiver wire, and people are cut each and every day. We have to be on top of things.”

The Chargers return all 22 starters from their 2004 AFC West championship squad, and Smith is excited about the group that Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer has to work with. Despite having a significant amount of salary cap room, safety Bhawoh Jue was the only new player the Chargers added during the free agency period.

“Fans shouldn’t read into the fact that we were quiet or inactive,” Smith said. “Just because you have money doesn’t mean that you have to spend it. If there are players available that we like, we’ll be involved. There just didn’t happen to be a whole lot of folks that we were interested in this offseason.”

While there weren’t many new bodies added to the roster, Smith spent an extensive amount of time making sure that key contributors to the ’04 squad would be around for the long haul. The Chargers were able to reach agreements on contract extensions with defensive tackle Jamal Williams, wide receiver Keenan McCardell, and linebacker Steve Foley. In addition, quarterback Drew Brees signed a one-year deal after being designated the club’s franchise player.

The Bolts also resigned safety Jerry Wilson, linebacker Carlos Polk, defensive end Jacques Cesaire, tight end Justin Peele, running back Jesse Chatman, defensive end DeQunicy Scott, wide receiver Kassim Osgood, and offensive linemen Kris Dielman, Bob Hallen, and David Brandt.

Smith had a short list of players that he deemed worthy of pursuing in free agency. He landed one of those in Jue, and after things fell through with others on his wish list, Smith found other avenues to upgrade his roster.

“There were a couple of guys that we liked, one of them being Allen Rossum and the other being Bhawoh Jue,” Smith said. “We ended up getting Jue, and when things didn’t work out with Rossum, we addressed the return game by attaining Darren Sproles in the draft.”

While the Chargers stood pat for the most part, their division rivals were very busy this offseason. The Raiders made headlines by signing Randy Moss and LaMont Jordan, the Chiefs overhauled their defense, and the Broncos made several moves that they hope will help get them over the hump.

“What everyone is trying to do is get the best football players that they can,” Smith said. “A year ago, we made several moves to get ourselves into a position to compete. We made a couple of trades to bring in Roman Oben and Jamar Fletcher. We made one trade at the eleventh hour, right before the trading deadline to acquire Keenan McCardell. We brought in guys like Steve Foley and Mike Goff through free agency. When people talked about us last year, they said, ‘Wow, there’s a lot of activity.’ It’s a year to year study. We did what we felt was best for our football team, and like I’ve continually said, we like what we’ve got.”

As training camp approaches, teams still have the opportunity to make changes to their roster. The NFL will hold a supplemental draft on Thursday for special-case college players that didn’t enter April’s draft, but it’s yet to be determined whether or not the Chargers will participate.

“We’re evaluating players,” Smith said. “There are a handful of guys available, and we’re discussing them right now. We’ll make a decision at a later date whether or not we’ll participate. Sometimes we do get involved, sometimes we don’t.”

In addition to the supplemental draft, there are several veteran players that are still looking for work. Smith said that it’s unlikely that the Chargers will make any moves prior to the start of camp, but with the unpredictability that the salary cap era brings to the NFL, he can’t make any promises.

“We’re always looking, but it appears right now that this is probably the team that we will go to training camp with,” Smith said. “Players are cut everyday. Whether we’ll react to it, I have no clue. It depends on the name, the circumstances, and the situation. It’s not like we’re absolutely done. I have no idea who will be released today. There could be a veteran let go today that could become a Charger. You never know. My attitude is that we’re looking all the time.”

In addition to watching the waiver wire, Smith continues to work on hammering out a contract for exclusive rights free agent Antonio Gates. Despite not being under contract, the 2004 Pro Bowler participated in all of the team’s offseason workouts. Both sides are pleased with how negotiations have transpired.

“It’s ongoing,” Smith said. “We started discussing a contract with him and his agent about mid-season last year. It’s been great, and it’s still ongoing.”

As the 2005 season sneaks up, Smith said that he can start to feel the excitement. His thoughts have turned toward the hopes and goals of the entire organization.

“The bar has been set high,” Smith said. “We won 12 games and a divisional title last year, but it’s a new year. Last year is over and done, and we can forget about it. It’s time to focus on ’05. I think we’ve got a hungry bunch of hardworking people here who felt a little bit of success last year and felt wonderful about it. We’ve come a long way in a year. We know the perception of the San Diego Chargers prior to that, and hopefully that feel good will keep everyone focused and motivated to do it again.”

shanarat is at it again

Depth makes Middlebrooks expendable
Denver and San Francisco are discussing a deal that would involve the injury- plagued defensive back.


The Broncos and San Francisco are discussing a deal that would send former first-round pick Willie Middlebrooks to the 49ers as early as today for an undisclosed veteran player.

The 49ers, who are in need of a backup cornerback, are investigating Middlebrooks' off-the- field behavior before finalizing a deal. The Broncos' top pick in 2001 was arrested in January on misdemeanor domestic violence charges.

Middlebrooks has an Oct. 11 trial date. He had a court hearing Monday.

"Everything is on hold before we talk any further. We want to know we're chasing a good guy," 49ers coach Mike Nolan told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. "We want to make sure it was a bad choice and not a character issue."

Nolan said a trade was "50-50."

He said the Broncos would likely get a veteran in return. San Francisco has been shopping defensive linemen John Engelberger and Andre Carter because the 49ers are switching to a 3-4 defense.

Middlebrooks was the 24th pick in 2001. Carter, the seventh pick in 2001, played in just seven games last season because of back problems.

Engelberger, from Virginia Tech, has played for the 49ers since 2000.

An NFL source said the Broncos have been shopping Middlebrooks around the league.

Among the teams still looking for help at cornerback are San Francisco, Jacksonville, New England, Miami and Kansas City.

The injury-plagued Middlebrooks may be expendable

because of the wealth of young backup defensive backs. The Broncos used their top three draft choices on cornerbacks: Darrent Williams, Karl Paymah and Domonique Foxworth. With training camp less than three weeks away, the Broncos would likely prefer to get a player on a current roster in return for Middlebrooks.
Middlebrooks' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said he couldn't comment on whether a trade was imminent.

Middlebrooks, entering the final year of his contract, was the team's nickel back last year because of an injury to Lenny Walls. Middlebrooks played well before he suffered torn ligaments in his right leg Dec. 12 against Miami, ending his season. Middlebrooks' first three seasons were interrupted by injuries.

07-14-2005, 06:51 PM
TFY Draft Preview - Scout.com
July 14, 2005 at 3:41pm ET

After high expectations the supplemental draft ended in a bit of a fizzle today as only one player was selected during the seven round event. And even with that, defensive tackle Manuel Wright was chosen much later then many had predicted.

The Miami Dolphins used a fifth round selection on former USC sophomore Manuel Wright and as a result, will surrender their choice during the fifth frame of the '06 draft.

Miami went heavy on the defensive side of the ball in April's draft, selecting linemen Matt Roth of Iowa in the second round and Kevin Vickerson of Michigan State in the last frame as well as junior linebacker Channing Crowder from Florida and LSU cornerback Travis Daniels in the middle frames.

There was much hype surrounding the physically gifted Wright, who left the Trojan program after being declared academically ineligible for the upcoming campaign. And while many thought the big defensive tackle could be chosen as high as the second round, as we reported on Wednesday , character issues and questions surrounding his work ethic pushed Wright into the middle frames.

07-14-2005, 07:09 PM

DAVIE, Fla (July 14, 2005) -- The Miami Dolphins today selected Southern California defensive tackle Manuel Wright in the NFL Supplemental Draft.

The Dolphins selected Wright with the second pick in the fifth round and thus forego their fifth-round selection in the 2006 NFL Draft.

Wright played in 11 games for the Trojans in 2004, totaling 23 tackles, 2.0 sacks and six tackles for loss.

The Supplemental Draft was conducted by computer from NFL headquarters in New York. There were no other players selected.

Middlebrooks to 49ers close


The Broncos continued discussions with the San Francisco 49ers on Wednesday that could bring yet another defensive lineman, John Engelberger, to Denver.

The 49ers were finalizing a background investigation of Broncos cornerback Willie Middlebrooks before completing the deal, which could be finalized today. The Broncos would receive Engelberger, a second-round pick in the 2000 NFL draft, in return for Middlebrooks, the overall No. 24 pick in 2001.

Robert Lattinville, Engelberger's agent, said he was told Wednesday his client likely will be on his way to Denver in exchange for Middlebrooks today.

"John is looking forward to this opportunity; we expect it to get done," Lattinville said. "We really think he fits in well in Denver."

Engelberger, 28, had six sacks last season. He became expendable in San Francisco because the 49ers are moving to a 3-4 defense. In Denver, Engelberger would be a backup on a line that features a glut of defensive ends heading into training camp this month: Trevor Pryce, who is returning from a back injury; Courtney Brown and Ebenezer Ekuban, who were acquired from Cleveland; along with incumbents Marco Coleman, Anton Palepoi and Raylee Johnson.
Engelberger will join the crowd if the 49ers are satisfied with Middlebrooks' background check. Middlebrooks was arrested Jan. 1 on misdemeanor domestic violence charges and has an Oct. 11 trial date. He had a court hearing Monday in which the deposition was continued while a temporary restraining order was vacated.

Engelberger and Middlebrooks have two years remaining on their contracts. Middlebrooks' final year will be voided if he plays 45 percent of his team's defensive snaps.

Hard-driving Belichick, wife of 28 years separate


New England Patriots poohbah Bill Belichick has brought his team to three Super Bowl victories in four years with his now famously obsessive and maniacal work ethic. But at some point, even the die-hards knew, something had to give.

Word from our pigskin spies is the Pats coach and Debby, his long-suffering wife of 28 years, have separated. Belichick isn't living in Weston anymore and has recently bought a condo in Hingham, we're told.

``They are living apart, but do spend time together,'' said a source, adding that the coach's missus, his high school sweetheart, was with him at the Super Bowl ring ceremony at Casa Kraft last month.

Rumors of a marital rift surfaced in February when Belichick took his third victory spin around Boston on the duck boats accompanied only by his daughter, Amanda, a college junior. The explanation was that Belichick's young sons had already missed enough school during the football frenzy and Mom thought enough was enough. Hey, somebody's got to keep the home team focused!

Mrs. B also took a pass on the black-tie gala in the Big Apple April 19 where her hubby, along with the likes of Martha Stewart, Donald Trump and Eliot Spitzer, was feted as one of Time maggie's ``100 Most Influential People.''

However, a month later, Debby showed up at Wesleyan University with the kids to watch Dad, a '75 alum, collect an honorary doctorate.

``Here's a guy who is wrapped up in two things - football and his kids,'' said a spy. ``He's a machine at work - he's there literally around the clock - but he's also a great father. The only time he skips out (of work) is to get to one of the kids' games. But would you want to be his wife?''

That would be no.

Sources have told us that during the season, the coach is usually in his Gillette Stadium office/war room by 5 a.m. and may leave by 10 p.m. - if he's not in the midst of working out a deal. In that case, he may stay until the wee hours or catch some shuteye in his office.

Of course, the Pats skipper isn't the first Foxboro football coach to sacrifice his home life for the team. Bill's one-time mentor and a predecessor on the sidelines Bill Parcells split with his long-suffering wife, Judy, in 2002 after leaving the Jets. The official party line was the usual: ``NFL stands for No Family Life.''

During the off-season, Belichick repairs to Nantucket to decompress and enjoy the downtime with Team Belichick at their compound in ’Sconset before training camp starts.

This year, Coach cut his time on the island short to fly to the Left Coast with the kids for last night's taping of the ESPY Awards where he was up for ``Coach of the Year.''

07-14-2005, 07:15 PM
Looks to me like Wright screwed himself pretty good by coming out early. If he had at least stayed another season, he could have gone in the third or even the second round. But now, he will not be getting the pay day he was thinking about. Now, he is going to have to work hard and show that he is worth more money.

Go Bolts!
:Bolt: :Bolt: :Bolt:

07-14-2005, 07:16 PM
Looks to me like Wright screwed himself pretty good by coming out early. If he had at least stayed another season, he could have gone in the third or even the second round. But now, he will not be getting the pay day he was thinking about. Now, he is going to have to work hard and show that he is worth more money.

Go Bolts!
:Bolt: :Bolt: :Bolt:

he didnt have the grades to go back and play next year though, if he wasnt ineligible academically then he wouldve still been at sc.

07-15-2005, 03:50 PM
Posted on Fri, Jul. 15, 2005


By David Wethe

Star-Telegram Staff Writer

ARLINGTON - The blueprints are preliminary, but one thing is certain. Luxury suites are popping up all over the new Dallas Cowboys stadium designs.

They're just behind the end zone, underneath the stands and on four more levels between the seating bowls.

To be exact, 414 suites are slated for the new stadium. Texas Stadium, the Cowboys' current home, holds 381 on four levels.

Like other professional sports teams, the Cowboys are looking to cram luxury suites into all areas of their stadium.

The team's first set of stadium blueprints, recently filed with Arlington, plot a variety of concepts, from a two-panel retractable roof to a nursery for players' children. The preliminary designs lack specifics such as the height, the square footage and the number of seats.

"They're very sketchy," said Steve Quirk, assistant director of the city's Planning and Development Services Department. "They're just to give us an idea of the direction they're going as far as the layout of the stadium is concerned. It's just very preliminary."

The plans were drafted by Dallas-based HKS on May 15.

HKS, which declined to comment on the drawings, could have a second draft to the city within a month, Quirk said.

Luxury suites typically hold 10 to 20 people and come with a small kitchen and bar, catered food, a bathroom and a plasma-screen television. Most of them will be closer to the action than the ones at Texas Stadium, which has two suite levels atop its upper deck.

The plans call for 20 field-level luxury suites in the first row directly behind each end zone. The suites would be some of the closest to the field in all of sports.

The Seattle Seahawks offer 12 field-level suites overlooking one end zone at the 3-year-old Qwest Field. All the suites, which seat 14 to 17 people, are sold out for the coming season, said Amy Sprangers, director of suite sales and services for the Seahawks.

"There isn't any other seat like it in football," she said. "You've got sights and sounds that you don't usually have when you're in another suite high up on the action."

The National Football League experimented with the idea even further last season when it allowed the New England Patriots and Chicago Bears to install temporary field-level boxes for a couple of games.

Luxury suites, which have emerged as one of the largest sources of stadium revenue for team owners, are creeping closer to the action in other sports as well.

The Cowboys' blueprints envision 16 bunker suites underneath the stands. There's no view of the field, but fans can have upscale tailgate parties before and after the game.

The Toyota Center, where the Houston Rockets basketball team plays, put in bunker suites underneath the stands at court level. They offer plasma televisions and other amenities. Fans usually have courtside seats in addition to the suites.

"They're a huge hit, and they're also extremely expensive," said Oliver Luck, chief executive of the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority, which oversees Houston's three new sports facilities. "To have the hospitality right there is very popular."

Among the other ideas in the Cowboys stadium blueprints:

• A Cowboys Hall of Fame and two large areas called "Cowboys experience."

• Offices for the Cowboys and their arena-league team, the Dallas Desperados.

• Two large concourses in each end zone, offering wide-open gathering spots for fans.

• A hole in the roof similar to the one at Texas Stadium, exposing only the field to the elements. Two panels move toward the end zones.

HKS has told city officials that the roof design could change, Quirk said.

Each page of the giant blueprints contains the disclaimer, "These documents are incomplete for interim review only and are not intended for regulatory approval, bidding, permit or construction purposes."

No matter. Councilman Robert Rivera is just glad to have something to focus on.

"Sure, they're preliminary," he said, "but they give the city of Arlington a glimpse into the enormous possibilities of the stadium."

Tax for stadium sparks lawsuit


By HOWARD FISCHER Capitol Media Services 07/15/2005

PHOENIX -- A Michigan man is trying to legally undermine the main source of funding for the new Cardinals stadium being built in Glendale.
Michael Devine is upset about having to pay higher taxes on his hotel room and rented car when visiting the state. Devine's lawsuit contends both taxes are illegal because they are designed specifically to target out-of-state residents.

That, according to attorney Gregory Hanley, violates federal constitutional provisions against states interfering with interstate commerce.

Hanley's lawsuit separately argues the tax on rental cars runs afoul of an Arizona state constitutional provision which says that levies on the registration on the registration, operation or use of vehicles on public roads can be used solely for highway and street projects. And the stadium is neither.

An attorney for the authority said he is confident the legality of the tax will be upheld.

But if Paul Mooney is wrong, the implications could be significant because Devine is seeking not just a refund of money he paid: He wants Judge Mark Armstrong to allow him to represent everyone who has paid the tax and demand a refund on their behalf.

A successful lawsuit also would end the flow of money into the authority, which borrowed for stadium construction. Default on debt payments would likely mean that the bondholders could end up owning the facility, as there is likely to be little interest at the Legislature in using state tax dollars to make up the difference.

It also would dry up tax proceeds earmarked for Cactus League stadiums and youth sports programs, as well as tourism promotion.

And the lawsuit could have broader implications.

If a judge voids the Maricopa County levy, it might undermine the legal basis for a similar tax on car rentals in Pima County. And many counties and cities also have separate hotel taxes.

The taxes are the result of demands by Cardinals' owner Bill Bidwill for a place for the football team other than Sun Devil Stadium at Arizona State University. Bidwill threatened to move unless taxpayers financed a new stadium -- one where he would control more of the revenues.

In 1999, Mesa voters rejected a sales tax hike to finance a stadium. Gov. Jane Hull then created a special task force to find a way to build a new stadium.

Hull specifically told task force members to develop a mechanism to "minimize impact on the average citizen."

The plan they adopted requires the Cardinals to invest $85 million -- about a quarter of the construction costs -- with another $10 million from the Fiesta Bowl organization. The balance, according to the authority's own documents comes "not from ordinary Arizona citizens but from out-of-state visitors who rent hotel rooms and cars."

Specifically, those who rent a car in Maricopa County would pay a 3.5 percent tax, or $2.50, whichever is greater. But there was an exception: Anyone who got a car as a "temporary replacement vehicle" would be subject solely to the $2.50 levy. And repair shops that provided a rental vehicle would owe nothing.

There also is a separate 1 percent tax on hotel rooms.

Devine, who visited Arizona two years ago, paid both levies.

That plan was adopted by county voters five years ago.

Hanley acknowledged the levies, on the surface, do not discriminate against out-of-state residents. But he said the state -- and the authority -- effectively conceded "the taxes were motivated by a discriminatory purpose."

In fact, Hanley noted that the state, in legal briefs filed in a separate case, admitted the taxes "were carefully crafted to apply to tourists, not Arizona residents."

The Tourism and Sports Authority, which is collecting the tax -- and providing most of the funds for the stadium -- has survived several prior legal challenges, including a 2001 lawsuit brought by developer John F. Long. None, however, has gone directly to the question of interstate commerce.

07-15-2005, 06:03 PM
Team reports encouraging news on Taylor, but trade talks still heat up for Buffalo back.


By BART HUBBUCH, The Times-Union

Acknowledging their concerns about Fred Taylor's availability this season, the Jaguars are close to completing a long-discussed trade for Buffalo Bills running back Travis Henry.

Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said Thursday in a statement released by the team that a deal for Henry, a Pro Bowl selection in 2003, could be completed "in the next few days or week."

"The fact that we have an opportunity to acquire a running back of this kind of talent is something we have to look at so we're looking at it,'' Del Rio said in the statement. "This may or may not happen, but we're protecting our interests, and any time we think we can acquire somebody who can help us, we're going to do that."

The Jaguars are pursuing Henry, who at 26 is nearly three years younger than Taylor, despite what Del Rio described as an encouraging workout by Taylor earlier this week.

Taylor has been sidelined all offseason by surgery in January to repair two ligaments in his left knee that were damaged in the Jaguars' Dec. 19 victory at Green Bay, an injury that caused him to miss the final two games.

Taylor's workout prompted Del Rio to say the eight-year veteran would participate in one practice per day for at least the first week of training camp, which begins Friday, July 29. Taylor will be held out of the team's Aug. 5 intrasquad scrimmage, but Del Rio said the team hopes Taylor can participate in practices in pads the week leading up to the preseason opener on Saturday, Aug. 13 at home against Miami.
"We'll open camp with Fred, but we'll practice him once a day and it'll be in shorts," Del Rio said in the statement. "We'll monitor him during that first week. We want to see his strength continue to improve."

Taylor shrugged off questions about his status in an interview last week.

"I'm going to be fine," he said. "You just wait and see. I'm going to be just fine."

The 5-foot-9, 215-pound Henry, who is from Frostproof and now lives in Orlando, has rushed for 3,849 yards (with a 4.0-yard average) and 27 touchdowns in four seasons. He is being shopped by the Bills after losing his starting job to Willis McGahee last season. Henry demanded a trade because he didn't want to be McGahee's backup.

The Jaguars have discussed a trade for Henry for much of the offseason, showing interest in him along with Tennessee and Seattle. The stumbling blocks to a deal have been compensation to the Bills and the necessity of signing Henry to a contract extension.

The Bills are holding out for at least a third-round draft pick, and Henry can become a free agent next winter without an extension because he is in the final year of his contract at a cost of $1.25 million. Neither the Bills nor the Jaguars would comment Thursday on possible compensation for Henry, although a Buffalo radio station reported it could be a third-round pick that improves to a second-round choice if Henry reaches certain statistical benchmarks.

Tennessee and Seattle are still in contention, but Henry's agent said Thursday that he is further along with the Jaguars on an extension than with any other team.

"We've had really positive dialogue with Jacksonville in the past week," agent Hadley Engelhard said. "Considering he's from that part of Florida, Travis is very excited about the prospect of coming to Jacksonville."

Henry, a second-round pick from Tennessee in 2001, rushed for a career-low 326 yards without a touchdown last season while battling injuries. He ran for at least 1,300 yards in each of the previous two seasons, although the Bills went 14-18 in that span and didn't make the playoffs either year.

The Jaguars, who also signed fifth-round draft pick Gerald Sensabaugh on Thursday, will have a crowded offensive backfield if Henry arrives.

Del Rio said the Henry trade discussions are not a reflection on the team's feelings about backup running backs LaBrandon Toefield, Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala or rookie Alvin Pearman.

"We like all of our guys,'' Del Rio said in the team's statement. "We think LaBrandon Toefield can be a very good player. The thing that makes Henry attractive is he's proved he can do it.''

Taylor said last week that he would welcome Henry's arrival as long as Henry realizes the Jaguars "are my team.''

"I'm all for bringing him in, because that's just going to make us better,'' Taylor said. "But this is my team.''

Jets acquire Hunter from Cowboys as CB Abraham retires


Friday, July 15, 2005
Star-Ledger Staff
The Jets acquired Cowboys cornerback Pete Hunter for a conditional draft pick yesterday as veteran cornerback Donnie Abraham informed the club of his plans to retire earlier this week.

The pick is believed to be a sixth-round selection that could turn into a fifth-rounder, depending on Hunter's playing time.

The Jets are alsointerested in pursuing ex-Patriots cornerback Ty Law but have been reluctant because of his asking price, according to someone with the knowledge of the Jets' thinking. That asking price is reportedly $7 million a season.

Veteran cornerback Ray Mickens, who has longed to start, is expected to get first shot at replacing Abraham alongside David Barrett.

Abraham, a nine-year veteran, had been mulling retirement because he wanted to spend more time with his family. He skipped the team's April minicamp.

The Jets report to training camp on July 28. Quarterback Chad Pennington, recovering from off-season rotator-cuff surgery, is expected to participate but likely on a limited bases.

Hunter, a native of Atlantic City and a fifth-round pick out of Virginia Union in 2002, started three games for the Cowboys last season before suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in Week 3 that required surgery.

The fourth-year pro is considered a raw talent with a huge upside. He has prototype size (6-2, 212 pounds) and excellent speed (4.34 in the 40-yard dash). He has three career interceptions and is a standout special-teams player in coverage.

In Dallas, Hunter fell out of favor in April when he asked for a trade after the Cowboys signed free-agent cornerback Anthony Henry and approached Hunter about moving to safety.

Shortly thereafter, Hunter's agent, Ray Savage, said the Jets and Cowboys were discussing a trade involving Hunter for Mickens. Savage may have killed the proposed deal by leaking the information. Dallas eventually signed former Jets cornerback Aaron Glenn.

Abraham, 31, spent the past three seasons with the Jets after playing six years with Tampa Bay. He told the club of his decision this week.

"Donnie's kids return to school in two weeks and they're going to remain in Tampa this year," Abraham's agent, Jack Reale, said. "He didn't want to leave them. It's not often a player reaches a point where he's able to think about things other than himself and his career.

"Donnie has plenty of gas left in his tank but this is what he wanted to do."
Reale said Abraham, 31, has invested his money wisely in several restaurants and fast food franchises in the Tampa area.

Law, who is recovering from a broken foot, has been contacted by Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Miami, among others.

Contract talks

between the Jets and three-time Pro Bowl DE John Abraham can officially resume today as the blackout for negotiations between franchise players and their teams is lifted. The club has placed the franchise tag on Abraham ($6.67 million) but he wants a long-term deal and didn't take part in the team's off-season condition program.

Abraham, who spent the off-season working with a personal trainer, may not report to training camp on time.

The Jets are balking at giving Abraham a long-term deal because of his injury history. Last season, he missed the final four games of the regular season and two playoff games after suffering a torn lateral collateral ligament in his left knee.

07-16-2005, 03:02 PM

By Howard Balzer, Sports Weekly and Derek Harper
There's pressure coming from every conceivable angle and alignment — the 4-3, 3-4, even the "46." Offensive line has become a firing line for the NFL's centers, guards and tackles, the fourth part of our 2005 NFL player ratings series, developed by The Sports Xchange for Sports Weekly. The Sports Xchange sorted players into six categories: Elite, A Notch Below, Rock Solid, On the Rise, On the Rebound and Setting Sun.


The standard for left tackles hasn't changed much the last several years. Perhaps as a matter of taste the order has been different, but Seattle's Walter Jones, Baltimore's Jonathan Ogden and St. Louis' Orlando Pace consistently have been the NFL's best.

Jones and Pace will be on unfamiliar ground when they report for training camp. Jones missed the Seahawks' last three camps and Pace the Rams' last two before signing one-year tenders as franchise players. However, after being designated franchise players again, each signed long-term contracts in March and could be even better. That's a scary thought for defensive ends they oppose.

Ogden continues to anchor the Ravens' line, and he could improve after missing four games last season because of injury.

A notch below

The Colts' line deserves mention, which it rarely gets, despite the exploits of the offense led by quarterback Peyton Manning. Left tackle Tarik Glenn quietly goes about his business of protecting Manning.

Marvel Smith of the Steelers has zoomed up this list and should stay around for a long time. Pittsburgh's offense is built around the run and doesn't place the tackles at risk too often in the passing game, but the 27-year-old Smith has developed into a capable all-around blocker.

For the Cowboys to improve, the offensive line will have to be better. They have few worries at left tackle, a position held by Flozell Adams. At 6-7 and 345 pounds, Adams also has the feet to handle even the quickest pass rushers.

Now that the Bengals are becoming a playoff contender, right tackle Willie Anderson is getting his due at age 30. Most of the top tackles on this list play on the left side, which makes Anderson's rating here all the more impressive.

Rock solid

Washington's Chris Samuels has the ability to ascend to a higher group, but the Redskins' offense, along with a lack of quality around him, hasn't allowed that to happen. Still, there is time for Samuels, 28, to become an elite player.

John Tait hopes he can stay in one spot for a while. At Kansas City, he played both right and left tackle, then was on the right side last season after signing with the Bears. However, he will be back on the left side this season after Chicago signed Fred Miller. If Tait can remain in one place, he could eventually rise.

Philadelphia's Tra Thomas has had some injury issues, and this offseason has been affected by a blood clot in his leg. Jason Fabini of the Jets is a tough run blocker who helps make Curtis Martin continue to be one of the top runners.

When the Raiders selected Robert Gallery in the first round of the 2004 draft, it was believed he would quickly move ahead of left tackle Barry Sims. It didn't happen. It seems the Raiders try to replace Sims every year, and every year he holds his own.

Chad Clifton of the Packers might not attain elite status, but he can be relied on to protect Brett Favre every week. Steady also describes New England left tackle Matt Light and Philadelphia right tackle Jon Runyan, who has started 144 consecutive games.

On the rise

This group is headed by Minnesota's Bryant Mckinnie, whose size (6-8, 343) makes him an anchor the Vikings can build their offense around. Arizona's Leonard Davis began his career as a guard but wound up last season at left tackle, where he's likely to stay.

Carolina's Jordan Gross is back at right tackle, where he excelled as a rookie in 2003. He played on the left side last season, and he could still be there if the Panthers' plan at left tackle doesn't pan out. Kareem Mckenzie has moved from the Jets to the Giants. He is strong on the right side and should help solidify the Giants' line. San Diego's Shane Olivea came out of nowhere last season as a seventh-round pick and helped make the team's line better than expected.

Cincinnati's Levi Jones continues to improve, and his presence with Anderson provides the Bengals with excellent tackle play. Buffalo's Mike Williams (6-6, 360) could become an elite tackle.

On the rebound

The Redskins are counting on right tackle Jon Jansen returning from an Achilles' tendon injury that cost him the entire 2004 season. If Jansen can return to his top level of production, he can combine with Samuels to give the Redskins outstanding production on the edge.

Setting sun

Some believed Chiefs tackle Willie Roaf was done in New Orleans. But he has been rejuvenated in Kansas City, and while he might not have many years left he still performs at a high level. In Tennessee, some wonder if left tackle Brad Hopkins' 13th season will be his last, but he still is leader of the Titans' line.


With more stability around him, Pittsburgh's Alan Faneca returned to left guard last season and anchored a line that paved the way for the AFC's top rushing attack.

After appearing to be working on his ticket out of Dallas, Larry Allen was revitalized last season and vaulted back into elite status. Already being paid tackle money, there's a chance the Cowboys could try him on the right side in training camp.

Kansas City's Will Shields remains one of the best as he enters his 13th, and possibly final, season. Seattle's Steve Hutchinson, only 27, is already a perennial Pro Bowl-caliber player.

A notch below

Marco Rivera is coming off three consecutive Pro Bowl appearances and received a five-year, $19 million contract from the Cowboys. He remains strong and is a quality run blocker, but he is 33 and has a history of injuries that includes back surgery after rupturing a disk while running on a treadmill in March.

Kansas City's Brian Waters is a rising star on one of the league's top offensive lines, and he is constantly on the attack. Washington's Randy Thomas remains one of the game's better run blockers but struggled at times in pass coverage last season.

Detroit's Damien Woody was a key free agent addition last season in the Lions' improved running game. He should stay at this level as long as he can control his weight. Baltimore's Edwin Mulitalo is an underrated part of a devastating left side playing next to Ogden.

Rock solid

Green Bay's loss is Carolina's gain, with Mike Wahle signing with the Panthers in the offseason. He's strong, smart and looks to finish, but the Packers couldn't afford him.

Tennessee's Benji Olson remains one of the most solid, underrated blockers in the game. Pete Kendall solidified the left side of the Jets' line when he was signed midway during training camp last year.

Jermaine Mayberry received a four-year deal from New Orleans because of his versatility and postseason experience, but he is 32 and has been prone to injury the past two seasons.

Chris Naeole is a key cog in Jacksonville's strong running game, while Cleveland signed Joe Andruzzi in an attempt to upgrade its offensive line. Andruzzi is 30 and has never been a star, but he brings a level of toughness to an offense in need of a more consistent running game.

Detroit signed Rick Demulling from Indianapolis, where he was an underrated member of a strong line. DeMulling is expected to line up on the left side, but he can also slide to center if needed.

Chris Villarrial started all 16 games in his first season in Buffalo, and the Bills are counting on him to be rock solid with other changes along their line.

On the rebound

Pittsburgh's Kendall Simmons missed last season after tearing his ACL on Aug. 18. That followed a 2003 season in which he struggled after learning he had diabetes and dropped 35 pounds. But his knee is expected to be healthy, and he has the diabetes under control.

Big things were expected of Jeno James when he signed a six-year, $21.1 million contract with Miami last offseason. But there was little talent around him, and James missed two games with a knee injury. He had offseason knee surgery, and the Dolphins upgraded the personnel around him.

On the rise

Atlanta's Kynan Forney moves well for someone 6-3 and more than 300 pounds, which is why he was a fit for a coaching staff that prefers smaller linemen. He was rewarded with a four-year extension as the Falcons attempt to build around young players.

New Orleans' Montrae Holland parlayed a strong 2004 training camp into a starting job on the right side. The Saints' running game took a step back last season, and Holland missed three games with a torn tendon in his right foot, but he is only 25 and improving.

Cincinnati's Eric Steinbach remains in this category despite a so-so second season. He is the Bengals' best athlete on the line and can play tackle if needed, but at 297 pounds he can be overpowered by the league's better defensive tackles.

07-16-2005, 03:06 PM
Toniu Fonoti is an up-and-coming run blocker, but he has struggled with his weight and confounded San Diego officials with unexplained absences from the offseason program.

Setting sun

St. Louis' Adam Timmerman played every snap last year despite two injured shoulders and a stress fracture in his foot late in the season. After offseason foot and shoulder surgery, he should enter camp feeling better, but he is 34 and admitted he could have had knee surgery as well.

Ruben Brown was solid on the left side of Chicago's line until a neck injury ended his season after nine games. He expects to be ready by the start of training camp and will have better talent around him with John Tait shifting to left tackle, but a neck injury is a concern for the 33-year-old.


Kevin Mawae might be 34, but he still has one of the meanest streaks in the NFL and is the pacesetter for a Jets rushing attack that was third in the league last season. Chicago's Olin Kreutz said he wasn't pleased with how he played last season, but he managed to make his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl and is only 28. LeCharles Bentley made a smooth transition from guard to center for the Saints and was a Pro Bowl alternate.

A notch below

Kansas City's Casey Wiegmann is a quiet force in the middle, but he is overshadowed by the Pro Bowlers and future Hall of Famers around him. The Colts' Jeff Saturday missed two games last season, his first in five years, but at 30 he remains a reliable member of a strong line. Coming off his first Pro Bowl, Pittsburgh's Jeff Hartings is 33 with chronic bad knees and could be playing his final season.

Rock solid

Houston's Steve Mckinney has started 108 of a possible 112 regular-season games in his first seven seasons, and he could be a candidate to slide to guard in training camp as the Texans look to put their five best linemen on the field. Jacksonville's Jeff Mitchell remains a steady, veteran presence entering his 10th season.

Philadelphia's Hank Fraley handles the line calls, but at 6-2 and 300 pounds, he can be overpowered by bigger interior players. Like Fraley, Detroit's Dominic Raiola can be overmatched at the point of attack, but he is effective when pulling and on the move.

On the rebound

Minnesota's Matt Birk has had four surgeries in 10 months and struggled through 11 starts last season. Birk could miss most or all of training camp, but the Vikings desperately need him back in the middle to anchor their running game.

Green Bay is relying on the return of Mike Flanagan, a mobile blocker who is key to the running game. However, he missed all but three games with a knee injury last season and might feel vulnerable with the departures of Wahle and Rivera.

On the rise

New England's Dan Koppen has started 31 of 32 regular-season games and performed well in replacing Woody last year. He doesn't make many mental mistakes and has the athleticism to get to where he needs to be. Arizona's Alex Stepanovich, Oakland's Jake Grove and San Diego's Nick Hardwick are young starters to watch.

Setting sun

Tom Nalen has been the prototypical undersized Denver lineman who has made a career of being tough and strong. But avoiding being overpowered by bigger defensive tackles will be increasingly difficult for him at the age of 34.

The 49ers desperately need Jeremy Newberry in the middle of their line, but he has little cartilage left in his right knee and could need season-ending surgery after recovering from offseason arthroscopic surgery.

Rk. Name Team Ht. Wt. Age Pass blk. Run blk. Str. Aware Agil. Accel. Tough. Imp. Ovr.
1 Walter Jones Seahawks 6-5 308 31 96 99 95 94 77 77 94 99 93.50
2 Jonathan Ogden Ravens 6-9 345 31 96 99 96 98 68 78 95 99 93.10
3 Orlando Pace Rams 6-7 325 29 97 97 94 97 74 75 94 99 92.95
4 Tarik Glen Colts 6-5 332 29 94 95 95 94 67 74 95 97 91.30
5 Willie Roaf Chiefs 6-5 320 35 95 94 96 99 62 67 99 96 90.70
6 Marvel Smith Steelers 6-5 310 27 93 96 93 90 66 74 93 96 89.30
7 Flozell Adams Cowboys 6-7 345 30 90 93 95 98 61 69 97 96 88.90
8 Willie Anderson Bengals 6-5 340 30 89 93 95 94 65 73 94 94 88.50
9 Chris Samuels Redskins 6-5 310 28 88 91 95 88 72 76 93 91 88.00
10 John Tait Bears 6-6 315 30 92 88 93 90 70 74 93 90 87.40
11 Bryant McKinnie Vikings 6-8 343 25 91 89 96 85 68 73 91 95 87.00
12 Brad Hopkins Titans 6-3 295 35 85 88 93 99 65 67 96 93 86.60
13 Tra Thomas Eagles 6-7 349 30 88 92 95 89 68 75 90 88 86.40
14 Leonard Davis Cardinals 6-6 381 27 90 91 98 84 66 73 89 92 86.00
15 Jason Fabini Jets 6-7 304 31 91 95 92 94 60 67 93 89 86.00
16 Jordan Gross Panthers 6-4 300 25 88 91 93 83 71 76 91 87 85.80
17 Jon Jansen Redskins 6-6 306 29 83 90 95 95 67 69 98 82 85.80
18 Barry Sims Raiders 6-5 300 30 93 84 91 89 69 70 91 85 84.40
19 Chad Clifton Packers 6-5 330 29 92 86 91 89 69 70 91 83 84.20
20 Kareem McKenzie Giants 6-6 327 26 86 93 92 85 68 69 90 86 83.80
21 Jon Runyan Eagles 6-7 330 31 83 93 96 95 61 62 96 80 83.20
22 Matt Light Patriots 6-4 305 27 83 89 88 88 65 72 90 89 82.80
23 Mike Williams Bills 6-6 360 25 81 90 96 82 65 74 91 84 82.60
24 Shane Olivea Chargers 6-3 302 23 92 90 88 80 66 71 92 83 82.40
25 Levi Jones Bengals 6-5 310 26 85 87 93 83 68 73 91 81 82.20

Rk. Name Team Ht. Wt. Age Pass blk. Run blk. Str. Aware Agil. Accel. Tough. Imp. Ovr.
1 Alan Faneca Steelers 6-5 307 28 89 97 96 96 69 77 98 98 91.00
2 Larry Allen Cowboys 6-3 335 33 90 96 97 99 63 74 93 98 90.30
3 Will Shields Chiefs 6-3 320 33 88 95 89 99 71 75 96 96 90.10
4 Steve Hutchins Seahawks 6-5 313 27 85 96 95 89 73 78 95 95 89.35
5 Marco Rivera Cowboys 6-4 307 33 88 92 96 94 66 72 99 93 88.40
6 Brian Waters Chiefs 6-3 318 28 87 96 92 90 73 78 92 87 87.80
7 Randy Thomas Redskins 6-5 306 29 84 89 92 92 75 77 96 89 87.75
8 Damien Woody Lions 6-3 325 27 86 90 94 91 68 74 97 92 87.20
9 Edwin Mulitalo Ravens 6-3 345 31 87 92 96 90 66 72 97 90 86.80
10 Mike Wahle Panthers 6-6 304 28 84 91 94 94 68 75 95 86 86.20
11 Benji Olson Titans 6-4 320 30 84 90 95 93 68 70 94 89 85.60
12 Pete Kendall Jets 6-5 292 32 86 91 92 97 63 65 98 87 84.80
13 Jermane Mayberry Saints 6-4 325 32 93 90 93 92 64 66 95 85 84.70
14 Kynan Forney Falcons 6-2 305 27 83 89 93 85 68 72 95 90 84.00
15 Kendall Simmons Steelers 6-3 319 26 85 89 94 86 68 70 91 88 83.20
16 Adam Timmerman Rams 6-4 310 34 84 88 90 97 64 68 93 86 83.15
17 Chris Naeole Jaguars 6-3 320 30 83 89 91 93 66 72 91 83 82.80
18 Eric Steinbach Bengals 6-6 297 25 83 88 92 82 72 74 91 83 82.10
19 Joe Andruzzi Browns 6-3 312 30 84 88 93 87 65 73 91 82 81.80
20 Montrae Holland Saints 6-2 322 25 84 87 93 84 66 74 90 84 81.60
21 Rick DeMulling Lions 6-4 304 28 85 87 90 88 69 70 88 83 81.20
22 Ruben Brown Bears 6-3 300 33 85 85 93 89 65 67 93 81 80.80
23 Toniu Fonoti Chargers 6-4 349 23 89 95 94 83 61 61 92 80 80.20
24 Jeno James Dolphins 6-3 310 28 82 84 96 84 63 69 89 84 79.70
25 Chris Villarrial Bills 6-3 310 32 80 87 93 90 62 66 91 81 79.60

Rk. Name Team Ht. Wt. Age Pass blk. Run blk. Str. Aware Agil. Accel. Tough. Imp. Ovr.
1 Kevin Mawae Jets 6-4 289 34 87 98 94 99 59 62 98 99 90.20
2 Olin Kreutz Bears 6-2 292 28 88 97 91 90 65 65 98 98 89.80
3 LeCharles Bentley Saints 6-2 313 25 94 94 91 84 65 68 93 96 88.90
4 Matt Birk Vikings 6-4 308 29 92 95 89 96 58 62 94 91 87.80
5 Casey Wiegmann Chiefs 6-2 285 32 89 90 88 93 63 66 90 90 87.60
6 Jeff Saturday Colts 6-2 291 30 90 88 88 90 59 65 90 95 86.90
7 Jeff Hartings Steelers 6-3 299 33 87 92 91 95 54 56 93 88 85.20
8 Steve McKinney Texans 6-4 302 29 83 89 89 87 61 65 89 87 84.30
9 Tom Nalen Broncos 6-3 286 34 87 84 85 97 58 58 95 85 84.20
10 Mike Flanagan Packers 6-5 297 31 86 87 88 93 57 67 90 79 83.80
11 Jeff Mitchell Panthers 6-4 300 31 84 85 90 86 58 60 93 89 83.40
12 Hank Fraley Eagles 6-2 300 27 90 86 89 85 58 63 86 85 82.90
13 Dominic Raiola Lions 6-1 295 26 87 85 89 86 59 65 85 84 82.30
14 Jeremy Newberry 49ers 6-5 304 29 80 89 90 87 52 61 96 82 81.60
15 Dan Koppen Patriots 6-2 296 25 88 86 88 83 55 63 87 83 80.70

07-16-2005, 04:09 PM
Does anybody know if thee chargers are interested in going after ty law?
What a catch that would be. I know he wants what he's worth, but can the chargers afford him? Or can we afford not to? I know we have upgraded our defense, but our pass coverage could use a little more help. :Helmet:

07-16-2005, 04:49 PM
Does anybody know if thee chargers are interested in going after ty law?
What a catch that would be. I know he wants what he's worth, but can the chargers afford him? Or can we afford not to? I know we have upgraded our defense, but our pass coverage could use a little more help. :Helmet:

They can afford Ty Law if they give him Antonio Gates' money for a contract that will keep AG in blue and gold for the next half-decade or so.

Law wants a big bonus long-term contract that averages $4 million per season. That's Antonio's money. If they give it to Ty, then that's it. The remaining cap money is allocated to the rookie pool.

So you're asking if we should do it, Ed?

IMO No. Gates is far more important than a 31 year old CB coming off of a serious foot injury who still can't make all of his cuts nearly nine months after suffering the injury. It's also my opinion that the biggest help to our pass coverage will be an improved pass rush where the Chargers ranked 29th in the NFL in sacks.

07-17-2005, 12:01 PM
By Chick Ludwig

CINCINNATI | On the field, wide receiver Chad Johnson is a route-running, pass-catching, yardage-eating, touchdown-scoring machine, playing every down with unbridled enthusiasm.

Off the field, in front of microphones, TV cameras and notebook pads, he's like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get.

Which brings us to the mixed signals he's sending about his contract.

Johnson, who became a client of high-profile agent Drew Rosenhaus in the offseason, tells the Bengals media that everything is cool with the $10 million signing bonus he received as part of a $25 million extension he signed in 2003 that will keep him in Cincinnati through 2009.

Then he turns around and tells Jeff Rickard of Sporting News Radio he can envision a situation that would cause him to hold out in the future.

"Where you're outperforming what you're making or your worth is more than what you're making. I think that's the right time to go back and ask for more. Because when you don't perform to your organization's standards, what they do is either make you take a pay cut or they cut you," Johnson said.

"So it has to be able to go both ways. When you're outperforming what you're making, why not be able to go out and ask for more when they can let you go when you're not performing to their standards?"

Johnson will be in training camp when players report on July 28. But all bets are off for 2006.

Know this: Rosenhaus doesn't get paid his three percent commission from Johnson until a new contract gets done. It's doubtful that Drew and Chad can wait until 2010 for that to happen.

Bengal for life?

The agent for Pro Bowl right tackle Willie Anderson recently met with management to propose an extension for the 10-year veteran, who turned 30 on July 11 and has two years remaining on his current contract at base salaries of $3.85 million (2005) and $4.75 million (2006).

Agent Terry Bolar wants a five-year extension that would keep Anderson in Cincinnati through 2011, but the club is more interested in a three-year deal in the $10 million range.

A lot hinges on how well Anderson recovers from offseason surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee. He's due to be 100 percent for training camp. Anderson has been a great player and model citizen, so negotiations are not likely to turn ugly. The two sides are talking, and that's a positive sign.

Colts-James evades camp questions
Colts star, in town for Black Expo event, declines to talk about his reporting plans.

By Mike Chappell

Edgerrin James was in town Saturday to participate in a celebrity basketball tournament his foundation helps sponsor as part of Indiana Black Expo.

The burning question: Will the Indianapolis Colts' career rushing leader be in Terre Haute on July 27 when the team reports to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology for the start of training camp?

"I'm supposed to be," James said, deftly avoiding a definitive answer. "But really, I don't feel like talkin' right now.

"I'll talk to y'all when I come to camp."

On July 27?

James smiled, nodded his head and walked toward a locker room at the RCA Dome.

James stuck around to sign autographs and pose for pictures with youngsters following Saturday's celebrity basketball event. But he has mostly maintained a low profile during the offseason.

He has remained under the radar since the Colts named him their "franchise" player Feb. 22, a move that greatly limited his options on the league's veteran free-agent market. The team allowed his new agent, Drew Rosenhaus, to seek trade offers, but none was secured and James signed the one-year, $8.1 million guaranteed contract in mid-March.

Displeased with the lack of a long-term contract offer from the Colts, James boycotted the team's mandatory three-day minicamp and did not participate in its voluntary four-week summer school. He has spent the summer working out at the University of Miami.

"That's the last person I've got to worry about coming into camp in shape," said Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne, one of James' closest friends as well as one of his workout partners in South Florida.

But will James come into camp on time?

"You've got to ask him that," said Wayne, who was on hand at Indiana Black Expo on Saturday. "I'll be there. If he's with me, he's there. If not, I guess you guys will have something else to talk about."

Browns-View from Pluto WINSLOW ON LIMB Browns holding bonuses on injured tight end but not ready to give up after major investment


Posted on Sun, Jul. 17, 2005
The Browns are beginning to work on dealing with Kellen Winslow Jr.'s contract. He was supposed to receive $2 million Friday, but they have declined to pay it.

The $2 million bonus was tied to Winslow being on the active roster.

Because of his motorcycle accident, Winslow is out for this season with reconstructive knee surgery.

The Browns already have paid him about $6 million, and he has played a grand total of two games. No one blames Winslow for breaking a leg trying to recover an onside kick in the second game of 2004.

But his motorcycle accident this spring was a violation of his contract, which clearly states that he's not to ride a motorcycle.

Some fans have wanted Winslow cut. Others have insisted that the Browns try to get back some of the money already paid Winslow as part of his signing bonus.

The Browns are formulating a plan to take the middle road. They are not going after old money. Some experts think that the Browns could ask Winslow to give back up to $5 million, but that would probably lead to a long legal dispute.

As one NFL executive told me: ``You only do that if you plan to get rid of the player. Otherwise, you work a compromise.''

That seems to be the Browns' approach. Let him keep his money, but there is no reason to reward Winslow with more bonus money for violating his contract -- and hurting the team.

Winslow is due:

• $2 million July 15, 2005.

• $950,000 Dec. 15, 2005.

• $2.4 million on July 15, 2006.

At each of those dates, the Browns will evaluate Winslow's progress and then determine if the payment will be made. Winslow also has some cash in salaries for each year through 2009.

The Browns have decided that they want to see how Winslow reacts. Will the young tight end be dedicated to his rehabilitation? Will he remain close to the team while he can't play? Will he buy into the new discipline brought by coach Romeo Crennel?

Finally, how will he come back from the knee surgery? Remember, this is the same right leg that he broke in 2004. Winslow is a speed player, so how will these injuries impact his performance?

It might seem the odds are against Winslow making a full recovery, but he won't turn 22 until July 21. He has been shaken by the accident, and the Browns say that early indications are Winslow has been showing up and working hard. They see no reason to cut ties so soon. Maybe he will learn something from this, as young athletes sometimes do.

At one point, Winslow was considered a terrific prospect. The Browns don't want to just cut him, watch him heal and then play well for another team. At this point, they wisely realize that they are heavily invested in Winslow, so why not be patient and see how it develops?

They also are smart to not reward Winslow for bad behavior by paying the bonuses.

07-17-2005, 06:53 PM
Like him or NOT Drew Rosenhaus is not shy about his job


Agent Drew Rosenhaus is leading a growing segment of players who are fed up with the way contracts are written in the NFL.



The 171 superhero figurines stand like sentries on bookshelves, flanking each side of the king-size bed on the second story of agent Drew Rosenhaus' Miami Beach home and office.

''I love these guys,'' Rosenhaus said. Wearing a Rosenhaus Sports Representation T-shirt, which is emblazoned with a mock Superman ''S'' on the chest, Rosenhaus picked up his favorites characters and discussed each in great detail.

''Batman is my favorite. The reason is that he doesn't have any true super power,'' Rosenhaus said. ``He succeeds and thrives on his intelligence, his will and his determination.''

Be it Batman (Dark Knight version, please), Superman, Deathstroke or Green Arrow (think Robin Hood on steroids), Rosenhaus knows his superheroes. His research material -- stacks of hundreds of comic books -- is piled high only a few steps away in the walk-in closet.

Rosenhaus has created an almost comic-book reality for himself. He is the NFL's agent king right now, representing a league-high 90 players. In the past, Rosenhaus built his client list with a combination of constant service and extremely aggressive recruiting. He has been accused endlessly of stealing clients, a charge he has constantly denied but sometimes paid settlements for.

But the biggest growth in his agency has come in the past year. About 40 players have switched to Rosenhaus in the past year after a series of high-profile deals and trades.

And now, Rosenhaus seems to be putting himself into a predicament that only a superhero could survive.

Rosenhaus and wide receiver Terrell Owens are taking on the Philadelphia Eagles, who are fresh off a Super Bowl loss and remain the NFC's lead contender.

Rosenhaus and Owens have threatened a holdout -- only a year after Owens (under his previous agent) received a $9 million signing bonus as part of a seven-year, $40 million deal the Eagles didn't have to give him.

Predictably, the situation has drawn the ire of people in Philadelphia, not to mention other NFL venues.

A crowd of 15,000 folks in Green Bay, where Rosenhaus has hinted at holdouts for star wide receiver Javon Walker and defensive tackle Grady Jackson if they don't get new contracts, booed Rosenhaus last month -- during a charity softball game.

Owens also is hearing the complaints.

''I just feel like a lot of people have made a big deal out of me honoring my contract, executives and coaches and owners,'' Owens said. ``They feed that into the public's heads. They look at it like we're not doing the right thing by not honoring a contract, and that gets echoed in the media. But nobody says anything when the team doesn't honor a contract by cutting a guy.

``It doesn't matter. At the end of the day, I don't have to worry about what people think of me, whether they hate me or not.''

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie already has said publicly that the team will not acquiesce to the Rosenhaus-Owens demands. Atlanta owner Arthur Blank, in a rare move in the stodgy NFL, even chimed in by saying it would be a mistake for Philadelphia to bow to the demands.

At the heart of the posturing is that Rosenhaus is leading a growing segment of players who are fed up with the way contracts are written in the NFL.

Said Chicago defensive end Adewale Ogunleye: ``Drew is doing far more for us than our own union.''

This is not as noble as Curt Flood's battle with Major League Baseball, which paved the way for free agency. But Owens & Rosenhaus vs. the Eagles shapes up as a significant battle for a league where contracts are binding in only one direction.

When players decline -- which is usually sooner than later in the NFL -- teams cut them or reduce their pay with little or no financial burden. Unlike contracts in the NBA or the vast majority of deals in baseball, nothing but the signing bonus is guaranteed in NFL contracts.

Owens and Rosenhaus are trying to turn that logic around.

''Terrell outperformed the contract,'' said Rosenhaus, noting that Owens gets $12.4 million for the first two years of the deal. That ranks behind at least nine other wide receivers, including Chris Chambers of the Dolphins.

``What we're saying is that same logic that allows a team to cut a player or reduce his salary should apply the other way in this type of situation.''

Furthermore, if Owens' original deal with the Eagles were fully guaranteed, Rosenhaus said: ``We wouldn't even be discussing this. But it's not.

``I'm not trying to lead some revolution of the players. I'm trying to do what's best for my client. If that happens to have some benefit for all players and changes the structure and thinking in regard to contracts, that's great.''

But one agent who has known Rosenhaus for more than a decade hinted at a potential backlash.

''I'm actually worried about Drew,'' he said. ``He's ratcheting it up and up to the point he's taking on the owners. It's one thing to take on other agents. Drew can just walk over those guys and nobody cares.

``But you mess with an owner and his team, I really think Drew could get hurt in this one. The owners could crush him if they wanted to.''


Where some people see threat and fear, Rosenhaus sees opportunity.

We're not talking contracts right now. Rather, that's the way Rosenhaus drives.

Rosenhaus is headed south on I-95 through downtown Miami on his way to the University of Miami for a chance to check in with some clients. He's talking to a reporter who is sitting in the passenger seat, answering phone calls with one hand and weaving his enormous black Hummer in-and-out of traffic with the other.

DMV be damned, nothing seems to distract Rosenhaus. The thought of ticking off NFL owners doesn't concern him.

'I'm getting calls from NFL executives and other people I know in this business, and they're saying: `Why are you sticking your neck out like this? This could blow up in your face in a big way,' '' Rosenhaus said. ``But I'll bet on myself every time.

``I really believe that when it comes down to getting this done, the Eagles will see our position and come to the table to work something out. I don't see it as this big, risky proposition. What we have is a well-thought, logical position that I think they'll understand in time.''

That's a matter of perspective. Atlanta's Blank, one of the league's growing number of billionaire owners, gave his in a recent interview with The Sporting News Radio:

''I think it's a mistake if Philadelphia gives in,'' Blank said. ``I don't know T.O. I know the folks at Philadelphia well. I know Jeff Lurie. I know [Eagles president] Joe Banner.

'In my judgment, if [Owens] had played at that level for two or three years and quietly had gone into management and said, `Listen, guys, this isn't right. I'm playing at an extraordinary high level. Instead of being the No. 1, No. 2 paid receiver in the league, I'm No. 15 or 18 or 20. Is there something we can do about this?' I don't know what they would have done, but certainly their response may have been different.''

Rosenhaus counters by saying that Owens has been one of the league's premier players for years, was a key difference maker in finally getting the Eagles to the Super Bowl after three years of losing in the NFC Championship Game and, worst of all, is 31 years old.

He has topped 1,000 yards receiving in six of the past seven seasons and averaged slightly more than 10 touchdowns per season in his nine-year career. The prime of Owens' career is now.

07-17-2005, 06:54 PM

As for Rosenhaus, it's hard to argue with his results. During the past two years, he has pulled one big deal after another. In 2003, UM running Willis McGahee was going into the draft with a severely damaged knee from the Fiesta Bowl loss to Ohio State.

Rosenhaus assured McGahee that he was still a first-round pick, and Rosenhaus promised to waive his agent fee if McGahee slipped in the draft.

McGahee went in the first round to Buffalo even though he didn't play a down that year.

Rosenhaus picked up running back Clinton Portis as a client after Portis' first two seasons with Denver.

Rosenhaus helped work a trade of Portis to Washington for Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey and a second-round draft pick. Portis then got a $50.5 million deal in the process, including $17 million in signing bonus.

Finally, Rosenhaus held firm on a deal for Ogunleye as a restricted free agent with the Dolphins before the 2004 season. He knew Chicago was willing to pay but that the Dolphins wouldn't.

He waited out the Dolphins, who finally gave into his trade desire and sent Ogunleye to the Bears. Ogunleye, a restricted free agent with seemingly little leverage, got a $34 million contract and a $15 million signing bonus.

Those deals caught the eyes of other players, such as Walker, wide receiver Chad Johnson, running back Edgerrin James and linebacker Dan Morgan. All have switched to Rosenhaus in the past year.

Rosenhaus has been called the most feared and hated agent in the business, but that's not exactly accurate. In fact, many coaches and executives -- from Denver coach Mike Shanahan to former Dolphins president Eddie Jones -- have said that working with Rosenhaus is more productive than painful.

When it comes to fear and hate, agents such as the brothers Carl and Kevin Poston rank much higher.

Rosenhaus is a dealmaker who understands leverage, pushing when he has it and moving quickly when he doesn't. His history with the Dolphins typifies that.

He has had at least 10 Dolphins players each year as clients for more than a decade. Early in his career, other agents said Rosenhaus cut the Dolphins breaks for clients such as Jeff Cross and Tim Bowens. Truth is, neither player wanted to leave South Florida and the team knew it.

In 2001, however, Rosenhaus got the richest contract ever for a kicker when Olindo Mare re-signed for six years and $12 million.

Then-Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt and former general manager Rick Spielman had hoped Rosenhaus would not push full force in the Mare negotiations.

''Drew would get so much positive publicity in the community if he did a good deal with the team,'' Wannstedt said at the time.

When Wannstedt was told that Rosenhaus would have taken even greater criticism among the agent community for cutting a sweetheart deal, the conversation ended quickly.

Mare signed the next day.


Rosenhaus pushes exceptionally hard while recruiting clients.

''He's very good at preying on your weakness,'' said one agent who declined to be identified. ``If you do a bad contract or a bad job in any way, he's going to be all over your client. . . .

``Now, some agents might call that tortuous interference, but whose fault is it? If you do a bad job negotiating a contract, especially in this league, that's your problem.''

Other agents don't look at the situation so philosophically. In 1997, player-turned-agent Tim Irwin got up during a meeting of about 500 agents and called Rosenhaus ''a cancer'' for his ''stealing'' of clients. Irwin declined to comment about that when contacted this month.

But Rosenhaus has had numerous complaints filed against him with the NFL Players Association by other agents. Rosenhaus has eventually settled all of them without being censured by the union.

Rosenhaus is so notorious for taking clients that the Dolphins have even started using him as leverage in talks with other agents. During the past three years, Dolphins negotiators have told other agents that if they don't get a deal done soon, Rosenhaus will probably steal their client.

Rosenhaus dismisses any claims that he swipes players from other agents.

''You can't steal a client. We're talking about a human being who makes their own decisions for themselves,'' Rosenhaus said.

Decent counter, but there is little question that the ubiquitous Rosenhaus is aggressive in selling himself. In 1996, Rosenhaus wasted little time introducing himself to Dolphins first-round pick Daryl Gardener.

Rosenhaus approached Gardener at the team banquet.

In the bathroom.

While Gardener was standing at a urinal.

''I was like, `Damn, Drew, at least let me finish my business,'' said Gardener, who never signed with Rosenhaus.

Rosenhaus seems to be everywhere. Last offseason, he traveled to Australia to meet with Dolphins running back Ricky Williams, who was living in a tent at the time. Rosenhaus claimed it was to meet as ''friends'' at Williams' behest.

Williams later said in an Esquire magazine article that Rosenhaus was trying to get him to be a client.

But the better point is that Rosenhaus is constantly tending to his clients.

''He has 80 or 90 clients, and everyone will say the same thing: Drew is always around, always calling. He's making you feel like you're his only client,'' Ogunleye said.

``When Jevon [Kearse] was still with Tennessee, he'd say Drew was always in Tennessee. You talk to [Edgerrin James], and Drew is always in Indianapolis.''

The Rosenhaus operation is a three-headed monster of Rosenhaus, brother Jason and former NFL player Robert Bailey, but the service is constant. There are no other agents and no secretaries because Rosenhaus trusts no one else.

The only hired help is Gloria, a full-time cook and cleaning woman at Casa de Rosenhaus.

But the clients are still happy.

Said journeyman tight end Jed Weaver: ``If you look at Drew's client list, I don't rank with guys like T.O. and Edge and all them. But whenever I call Drew or Jason, either they answer or they get right back to me right away.''

Said Ogunleye: ``His No. 1 love is that he wants to be the No. 1 agent. . . . It's a good thing for us, but I'm sure it costs him.''

By Rosenhaus' count, there have been three serious relationships he has had to cast aside.

While standing in his home office, a room decorated with dozens of pictures and articles about Rosenhaus, he still has hope for a wife and family.

''I can see myself married with kids on the way in two years, no question,'' Rosenhaus said.

Two hours later, Rosenhaus is standing on a field in Davie helping Zach Thomas during a football camp and the subject comes up again.

``No, really, I can see myself married with a family in five years.''

Just like Batman and so many other of Rosenhaus' beloved superheroes, love can wait.

Edwards' status uncertain as preseason camp looms
Brace yourself for a Braylon Edwards holdout.


Panthers have eight draft picks to sign before training camp


07-18-2005, 06:24 AM
When players decline -- which is usually sooner than later in the NFL -- teams cut them or reduce their pay with little or no financial burden. Unlike contracts in the NBA or the vast majority of deals in baseball, nothing but the signing bonus is guaranteed in NFL contracts.

Owens and Rosenhaus are trying to turn that logic around.
Rosenhaus and his little harem of NFL players keep saying the same mantra:

Teams let us go and don't pay us when we're older, so we want more money if we "out-perform" our contract.

That's a load of crap.

How many of the players return bonus or salary when they underperform?

How many of the players return bonus or salary when they miss games because of injury?

Rosenhaus is going to lose this battle. I'd bet that not a single team renegotiates any of his clients that want more money because they have "out-performed" their contract.

07-18-2005, 08:06 AM
Perhaps Rosenhaus should just have his players sign shorter contracts? I see two sides to this question. The teams can't guarantee future earnings in a sport where injuries often cut a players career off abruptly. In no time at all they'd be paying out more to people that are no longer playing than they were paying to those still on the team. For the players, the key to avoiding getting screwed by a short career is the bonus money they get up front. Perhaps Rosenhaus would be willing to have his clients forgo the bonus for a guaranteed longterm deal? - I'm guessing they wouldn't want to do that.

In the case of T.O., he's upset because he thinks he's the very best and others are getting more money than he is. My question to him would be why the hell did you sign the contract in the first place? Why didn't he say last year that he deserves more money than Chambers? Of course he does deserve to be one of the highest paid WR's in the game - no doubt he's one of the best, but he knew that when he signed that deal a year ago. He's got no-one to blame but Rosenhaus and himself.

By the way, didn't he miss the last few games a year ago? Did he give back part of that salary? These guys make more money for signing their name to a contract than the rest of us make in our entire life and yet they cry for more! Has anyone got a violin?

07-18-2005, 08:23 AM
Rosenhaus ... sounds like Ari

07-18-2005, 08:33 AM
Just commenting on the TO situation, and hold-outs in general.

I kind of feel that players shoot themselves in the foot with their strategy of holding out. Why hold yourself out of training camp if you want to renew a deal? That seems a bit counter-productive, to me.

If I were a player, my strategy would be to indicate that I wanted my deal redone by opening day. I'd show up for all OTA's and minicamps, and be in TC from day one, clearly stating that I wanted my deal re-negotiated by opening Sunday ,and having my agent work with management.

Then, if on opening day my contract wasn't re-negotiated, I would be conspicuously absent from the team locker-room. Then the pressure would really be on, because the team would be dependent upon my role in the gameplan, and I wouldn't be behind because I'd missed Training Camp, nor would there be a player who could replace me because I'd have taken all of my reps in TC and practice.

I'm sure that would piss the Coaching staff and my teammates off royally, but it seems to be a better strategy for getting a deal re-worked. At least I'd have been "negotiating in good faith" by showing up and doing my part while notifying the team in advance of my intentions.

07-18-2005, 08:38 AM
Perhaps Rosenhaus should just have his players sign shorter contracts?
Some of these guys that threaten holdouts and want new deals are players that Rosenhaus pillaged from other agents. The agent who negotiated the original deal is still getting the fees from that contract.

Rosenhaus gets nothing until a new contract is signed.

From ftwbolt's post above:
Johnson, who became a client of high-profile agent Drew Rosenhaus in the offseason, tells the Bengals media that everything is cool with the $10 million signing bonus he received as part of a $25 million extension he signed in 2003 that will keep him in Cincinnati through 2009.

Know this: Rosenhaus doesn't get paid his three percent commission from Johnson until a new contract gets done. It's doubtful that Drew and Chad can wait until 2010 for that to happen.

More: Linky (http://msnbc.msn.com/id/7410225/)
The Philadelphia Eagles’ All-Pro receiver recently hired Drew Rosenhaus to replace his longtime agent, David Joseph. Rosenhaus met with Eagles president Joe Banner on Wednesday presumably to discuss his client’s contract.

See, Rosenhaus steals a player, then keeps beating into his head that he has "out-performed" his old contract and needs a new one. This is purely to line Rosenhaus' pockets and to screw the team. Rosenhaus doesn't care about these guys old contracts because Rosenhaus is getting NOTHING from those contracts.

07-18-2005, 08:44 AM
Some of these guys that threaten holdouts and want new deals are players that Rosenhaus pillaged from other agents. The agent who negotiated the original deal is still getting the fees from that contract.

Rosenhaus gets nothing until a new contract is signed.
That may be so but you can't be suggesting that Rosenhaus is worried about lining his own pockets, can you? :confused:

07-18-2005, 08:49 AM
Perhaps Rosenhaus should just have his players sign shorter contracts? I see two sides to this question. The teams can't guarantee future earnings in a sport where injuries often cut a players career off abruptly. In no time at all they'd be paying out more to people that are no longer playing than they were paying to those still on the team. For the players, the key to avoiding getting screwed by a short career is the bonus money they get up front. Perhaps Rosenhaus would be willing to have his clients forgo the bonus for a guaranteed longterm deal? - I'm guessing they wouldn't want to do that.

In the case of T.O., he's upset because he thinks he's the very best and others are getting more money than he is. My question to him would be why the hell did you sign the contract in the first place? Why didn't he say last year that he deserves more money than Chambers? Of course he does deserve to be one of the highest paid WR's in the game - no doubt he's one of the best, but he knew that when he signed that deal a year ago. He's got no-one to blame but Rosenhaus and himself.

By the way, didn't he miss the last few games a year ago? Did he give back part of that salary? These guys make more money for signing their name to a contract than the rest of us make in our entire life and yet they cry for more! Has anyone got a violin?
I'm always startled to hear " I've got to take care of my family". Taking care of one's family is a good and proper thing to do, but in San Diego the avg family is making it on less than 50k per year, so it's kind of hard to reconcile the numbers. I don't begrudge them their lifestyle but don't shed any tears when I hear a guy is only being paid 20 million and he believes he deserves 30. The argument about the physical toll and brevity of career also falls on deaf ears. If he didn't finish his college degree or save or invest wisely, it's a personal problem. Re the physical damage suffered, whatever. I work in the construction industry where there were 1126 fatalities in '03 and God knows how many broken limbs and ruined joints. Things are tough all over.

07-18-2005, 08:49 AM
That may be so but you can't be suggesting that Rosenhaus is worried about lining his own pockets, can you? :confused:
You took the words right out of my mouth ......

07-18-2005, 07:11 PM
In the case of T.O., he's upset because he thinks he's the very best and others are getting more money than he is. My question to him would be why the hell did you sign the contract in the first place? Why didn't he say last year that he deserves more money than Chambers? Of course he does deserve to be one of the highest paid WR's in the game - no doubt he's one of the best, but he knew that when he signed that deal a year ago. He's got no-one to blame but Rosenhaus and himself.

That's the part that make's me sick!
You signed the contract, you honor the contract!
Today's athlete,and it's not all of them (no matter what the sport) are nothing more than spoiled rotten brat's, who cry to their mommy when things dont go their way.

07-18-2005, 07:13 PM
That's the part that make's me sick!
You signed the contract, you honor the contract!
Today's athlete,and it's not all of them (no matter what the sport) are nothing more than spoiled rotten brat's, who cry to their mommy when things dont go their way.

Honor? TO? Contradiction in terms IMHO.

07-18-2005, 07:28 PM
By David Elfin
July 18, 2005


LaVar Arrington has hired a new attorney in hopes of resolving his 19-month-old contract dispute with the Washington Redskins.
"I was brought in to give LaVar a fresh set of eyes," attorney Steve Brown said. "LaVar would like to get a resolution of this before training camp starts [in two weeks], and after reviewing the documents, I expect that we can come to a win-win resolution and LaVar can restore the relationships with the Redskins that are so important to him."
Although Redskins owner Dan Snyder and coach Joe Gibbs are both on extended vacations that aren't due to be completed until just before camp begins at Redskin Park, Brown is hopeful a meeting can be arranged to settle the dispute. NFL Players Association executive director Gene Upshaw also would be expected to participate.
The dispute, which was going to be heard by an arbitrator today before being postponed last week at the request of Brown, Arrington and the NFLPA, stems from the eight-year, $68?million contract extension the three-time Pro Bowl linebacker signed in December 2003. He and agent Carl Poston say the Redskins owe him another $6.5?million in signing bonus for redoing his deal. The Redskins vehemently disagree and say Poston didn't carefully review the contract before signing it. Arrington missed most of last season following arthroscopic knee surgery. When he needed a followup procedure in April, he blasted the Redskins for not promptly announcing the news. After meeting with Gibbs the next day, Arrington turned around and ripped the media for reporting his anger. He hasn't talked to reporters since.
Notes -- Fullback Nehemiah Broughton, the Redskins' seventh-round draft pick, has agreed to a three-year contract. ... Receiver Rod Gardner is still expected to be cut when the Redskins need his $2.1?million in salary cap space to sign Carlos Rogers and Jason Campbell.

Henry trade not done deal yet
GM Reese says talks with Bills 'ongoing'

Monday, 07/18/05 By PAUL KUHARSKY
Staff Writer


Titans General Manager Floyd Reese said through a spokesman yesterday that talks with the Buffalo Bills and running back Travis Henry "are still an ongoing process" and "that nothing has been finalized."

Reese has often taken such a stance when news has crept out ahead of his preferred schedule.

Henry's family told The Tennessean that Henry is now a Titan, and multiple reports said paperwork for the trade has been sent to the league.

Contacted by Nashville's WTVF Channel 5 yesterday, Henry said: "I'm just happy to be a Tennessee Titan, really I am. I'm excited about coming up there and meet everybody, get the playbook down and help the team win as many football games as we can."

In surrendering a third-round pick next year for Henry without negotiating an extension of his contract, the Titans will strengthen their offense for 2005 while leaving themselves solid options at the running back position down the road.

A late-arising hitch or a problem with Henry's physical could still throw the deal off-track. Henry's agent, Hadley Engelhard, said despite negotiations no agreement for a new contract has been reached.

The Titans could still try work on a deal that goes beyond the remaining year of Henry's contract — which calls for a $1.25 million base salary. But if the Titans don't manage an extension, they'll play this season with two solid running backs in Henry and Chris Brown and sort the rest out later.

If Henry has a big year and heads elsewhere in unrestricted free agency, Tennessee would get a compensatory draft pick that would help offset the third-rounder they're giving to Buffalo.

Brown still has two years remaining on his initial contract, which came with a $450,000 signing bonus. He's due to earn a base salary of $385,000 this season and $460,000 next year, though that could go up if the league's fourth-year minimum salary goes up in 2006.

In offensive coordinator Norm Chow's system, Henry is expected to be more of the inside, power runner. Brown, though a full six inches taller at 6-foot-3, will qualify as more of the scat back who can do damage around the edges and as a pass-catcher.

Henry wanted out of Buffalo because he was not content to play behind Willis McGahee.

He said he has not met Brown and not yet spoken to Titans coaches regarding his role, but that "everybody will know their role, whatever roles the coaches give me or him, it's a team sport first."

Brown's agent, Bralyn Bennett, did not return a message left on his cell phone yesterday.

When Brown broke his hand in a May minicamp practice, he was unhappy with the media for labeling him as injury-prone even though he's also dealt with hamstring, toe and ankle problems in his two NFL seasons.

He's likely to be unhappy with the Titans now for making a move to get Henry.

07-18-2005, 07:46 PM
What a CROCK of

Posted on Mon, Jul. 18, 2005 Associated Press


KIRKLAND, Wash. - Former Seattle Seahawks receiver Koren Robinson pleaded guilty Monday to one count of driving under the influence, and was ordered to spend one day in jail.

Kirkland Municipal Court Judge Albert Raines sentenced Robinson to one year in jail with 364 days suspended. He must serve 24 months of supervised probation and use an ignition interlock device for one year. He was also fined $2,137 and had his license suspended for 90 days.

A second charge of reckless driving was dismissed.

"I hope you spend the day reflecting on what is ahead of you rather than what is behind you," Raines told Robinson.

Robinson, 25, was arrested on May 6 in the Seattle suburb of Medina following a traffic stop. Court papers said Robinson had a blood-alcohol level of .191. He originally pleaded innocent to charges of reckless and drunken driving.

Robinson was the ninth overall pick of the Seahawks in the 2001 draft. His best season was 2002, when he had 78 receptions for 1,240 yards, the only Seattle receiver other than Hall of Famer Steve Largent to record a 1,200-yard season.

His production subsequently declined, with 39 receptions for 536 yards in 2003 and 31 receptions for 495 yards last season. He was released by the team on June 2 after totaling 213 receptions for 3,167 yards and 12 touchdowns in 57 games with Seattle.

Last season, Robinson was suspended four games by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse rules, and he agreed to enter alcohol abuse treatment earlier this year.

Agent: Don't judge McMichael


By Marcus Nelson

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Monday, July 18, 2005

The agent for Dolphins tight end Randy McMichael doesn't want people to judge his client until the legal system runs its course.

McMichael's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, made his first public comments Sunday since McMichael was arrested and charged with misdemeanor simple battery and criminal trespass charges after an alleged altercation with his wife last weekend at a Waffle House near Augusta, Ga.

"Just like last year, I hope that people will not jump to conclusions," Rosenhaus said on Miami TV station WSVN's Sports Xtra, where he is a regular guest. "Randy was exonerated in the past. We believe he will be again.

"I hope people don't think he's guilty until he has the opportunity to have his day in court. I think things are going to work out — I know things are going to work out — for Randy."

McMichael also was arrested in June 2004 at his Weston home after an altercation with his wife, who was pregnant at the time, but battery charges were dropped.

Rosenhaus said he had spoken to the Dolphins about McMichael's latest arrest.

"The team is behind Randy," Rosenhaus said. "They are supporting him and we're confident Randy is going to put everything behind him and have a great season."

07-18-2005, 08:42 PM
I know some of the more "veteran" members of fandom feel that all these players are "spoiled little brats" but let me ask you if you worked for a employer and made $9/hr but on your own time you took classes and studied to make yourself better at your job would you not ask for a raise? If a position became available that you are qualified for would you not put your name in the running? Of course you would.

Also if you had the opportunity to make 75 million instead of 50 wouldn't you try to? As far as taking care of thier families it makes perfect sense. Maybe not in the short sighted versions you all look at it. Think if you had the opportunity to make enough money to not only take care of your immediate family but also future generations of your family?

I realize alot of your points are valid for the workingman but you fail to realize that the average working man would gladly accept multitudes of millions to do the same job they now do for 100 dollars a day. Alot of it is jealousy ( abig reason my own brother doesn't like football is he is jealous that they get paid as much as they do for playing a "game") and that is understandable because I want to be one of them too. WHo wouldn't? Still they deserve every right to make as much money as they can. Thier careers dont last long at all only 10 years or so for the elite players.

If they can make over 100 million dollars for that period of time then that is just great. Besides boxers, who works harder? It's a combination of brains and brawn and they deserve as much money as they can get thier hands on if the teams are willing to pay it. Should players like Leaf pay back money to thier teams? Sure it woud be nice but that isnt the reality of Sports entertainment. It's all risk and reward. There are plenty of players now that get paid less than what they are worth and players that get paid more than thier worth. To single out the best players in the league because they want more money and feel they have outplayed thier contract is unfair. In most instances they have outplayed thier contracts. Owens isn't making the money that Marvin Harrison or Randy Moss is making. Culpepper isn't making the money that Mike Vick is making either, neither is Donovan McNAbb. Both of those guys are better QB's. Actually 15 Qb's in the league IMO are better than Vick but he is the highest paid. If Brees takes us into the playoffs and makes the Pro Bowl again are we going to say he doesn't deserve a similar contract?

Go Bolts!!!

07-18-2005, 09:19 PM
G2E, you did make some valid points and I certainly agree that I'd try to make as much as the others with similar results are making. What I object to is expecting the contract to be changed a year after signing it. That's nuts. Did he do something last year that he hadn't already done that would merit a new contract? I don't think so, he was a top producer before he ever went to Philly. He knew that and accepted their contract offer. It's an ego thing with him - "I want what the other guys got because I'm so good". - I think they're all coddled too much and all of that coddling makes teams increase their ticket prices and makes the ordinary working man unable to afford the games.

07-18-2005, 09:35 PM
He was pretty much forced to sign that contract last year. He was never a FA like he wanted to be. If he was a FA last year do you think he would've signed for that amount? I don't. Why? Because he is worth more than that.

Think about it for a sec. The niners traded him to Baltimore and he was right in raising the fuss because his agent messed up. NOw the only way out of Baltimore is to get Philly to trade. So he signed a contract that would help him get out of Baltimore the fastest to the team he wanted to play for.

It was really a strange occurance when I think back on it. He should be allowed to ask for a new contract since it will be the last one he gets. And it is not like he has ever received a contract at the elite level. The Niners got him on the cheap for both contracts because he wasn't a proven star at that point. When he could opt out, his agent screwed up and then he had to sign a smaller contract or else he would have been stuck at Baltimore with the contract he went there with.

Go Bolts!!!

07-18-2005, 10:05 PM
You know what the problem is - us fans look at it as a sport and we want our team to win. The teams and the players also want to win but they also look at it as a business. The owners are trying to cut corners wherever they can, the players are trying to get a salary increase and a big bonus whenever they can.

07-18-2005, 10:07 PM
That is more than exactly right if there is such a thing. :Beer:

Go Bolts!!!

07-18-2005, 10:10 PM
TO was never going to get market value because of his mouth.

Philly will be very happy to move on without him this year and take back a truckload of money from the mouth. The Eagles saved him from a situation that he was begging to be rescued from and he's crying one year into a 7 year deal?

Cry me a river, TO, or play for the piddling $3.5 million in 2005 and quietly go to the Eagles front office next year and ask for a re-working of the deal. :rolleyes:

07-18-2005, 10:46 PM
Did Deion Sanders ever get Market value>? He seems to have had quite a big mouth over the years. What about Clinton Portis? Did he get market value after declaring himself the heavyweight champion RB of the World?

All the mouth in the world won't stop a team from paying you what you are worth. Like him or obviosuly not TO is an elite WR. If he had hit the FA market you can bank on the fact that some team would have taken him at an elite pay level. The Beagles got lucky to get him so cheap and they know it. He is making less that Portis for goodness sake. He will get his money sooner or later. At least i hope he does.

Two things you can't question about TO.
1) His talent
2) His heart and desire for the game. Which is often forgotten because of his ego.

Go Bolts!!!

07-19-2005, 08:50 AM
Two things you can't question about TO.
1) His talent
2) His heart and desire for the game. Which is often forgotten because of his ego.
That's true but it also points out how he hurts his own reputation with his mouth. If he could have been a different person, a team player, he'd be making more money already than any other WR. Sometimes, Owens is his own worst enemy. When he was available, many teams didn't show interest in him due to his reputation. When you consider his talent and desire he should have had teams fighting over him.

07-19-2005, 09:25 AM
Did Deion Sanders ever get Market value>? He seems to have had quite a big mouth over the years. What about Clinton Portis? Did he get market value after declaring himself the heavyweight champion RB of the World?

Go Bolts!!!

Neither Deion Sanders nor Clinton Portis publically criticized their teammates in the press nor got into screaming matches with their coordinator on the sidelines.

Portis and Sanders are/were good teammates. As talented as he is, TO is not. After one year of "good behavior", he's back to ripping his teammates in the press.

There's a reason why the Ravens were initially able to obtain Owens for only a second round pick: the "market" was not very hot for one of the best players in the NFL due to his team-destroying antics.

07-19-2005, 11:14 AM
There are plenty of players now that get paid less than what they are worth and players that get paid more than thier worth. To single out the best players in the league because they want more money and feel they have outplayed thier contract is unfair. In most instances they have outplayed thier contracts.
And this is where I will have to respectfully call "bull****". If you're going to be perfectly OK with giving in to a players demand for a new deal everytime he outplays his contract then you'd better be OK with the team demanding a restructuring of the contract after not playing up to par. This can't be a one-way street. Are we going to OK with a demand for a new contract if the player betters his previous performance every year?

I guess I'm going to have also respectfully call B.S. on the comparison of professional multimillion dollar contract to hourly wage employees. Yes, we'd all gladly want to make more than we are making now and would like to make as much as we can get however, there comes a point when it has got nothing to do with taking care of your family and everything to do with ego. TO is not demanding more because he's concerned about the longevity of his career or the rising cost of college tuition for his children, the only reason for his demands are plain and simple: somebody else is getting more.

07-19-2005, 11:31 AM
I know some of the more "veteran" members of fandom feel that all these players are "spoiled little brats" but let me ask you if you worked for a employer and made $9/hr but on your own time you took classes and studied to make yourself better at your job would you not ask for a raise? If a position became available that you are qualified for would you not put your name in the running? Of course you would.

Also if you had the opportunity to make 75 million instead of 50 wouldn't you try to? As far as taking care of thier families it makes perfect sense. Maybe not in the short sighted versions you all look at it. Think if you had the opportunity to make enough money to not only take care of your immediate family but also future generations of your family?

I realize alot of your points are valid for the workingman but you fail to realize that the average working man would gladly accept multitudes of millions to do the same job they now do for 100 dollars a day. Alot of it is jealousy ( abig reason my own brother doesn't like football is he is jealous that they get paid as much as they do for playing a "game") and that is understandable because I want to be one of them too. WHo wouldn't? Still they deserve every right to make as much money as they can. Thier careers dont last long at all only 10 years or so for the elite players.

If they can make over 100 million dollars for that period of time then that is just great. Besides boxers, who works harder? It's a combination of brains and brawn and they deserve as much money as they can get thier hands on if the teams are willing to pay it. Should players like Leaf pay back money to thier teams? Sure it woud be nice but that isnt the reality of Sports entertainment. It's all risk and reward. There are plenty of players now that get paid less than what they are worth and players that get paid more than thier worth. To single out the best players in the league because they want more money and feel they have outplayed thier contract is unfair. In most instances they have outplayed thier contracts. Owens isn't making the money that Marvin Harrison or Randy Moss is making. Culpepper isn't making the money that Mike Vick is making either, neither is Donovan McNAbb. Both of those guys are better QB's. Actually 15 Qb's in the league IMO are better than Vick but he is the highest paid. If Brees takes us into the playoffs and makes the Pro Bowl again are we going to say he doesn't deserve a similar contract?

Go Bolts!!!
I'm sure you think I'm an idiot, but at TO's age I would have signed a contract for the NFL minimum so fast your head would spin. Making that kind of money for playing a kid's game, one the you supposedly love would be fantastic. Making millions of dollars has never been a personal goal for me. If it was offered to me, I'd take it but would jump through very few hoops to obtain it or keep it. I like people too much and don't care for the strain that greed places on relationships. I don't mind working for a living. We all have to get up and do something every day. I could care less what anyone else is doing, if I give my word on a deal, it's done. If I made a stupid decision, or think I was under duress short of a gun to the head, literally, I don't care if I was drunk or whatever, I won't go back on my word and have no respect for anyone who does.

07-19-2005, 01:14 PM
That former baseball player who didn't get selected in the Supplemental draft signed with the Colts today.

Colts | Crosby Officially Signed
Tue, 19 Jul 2005 12:51:58 -0700

Updating previous reports, Colts.com reports the Indianapolis Colts have signed WR Roscoe Crosby.

07-19-2005, 02:56 PM
From SDBoltReport.com

Coach Washington on Luis Castillo: "Complete"
By Michael Lombardo
Date: Jul 19, 2005

>>>There are two kinds of players who can really help a defense: those who can be stars and make game-altering plays, and those who allow the stars to have the impact that they do. Just as Shawne Merriman is being expected to make his living in opponents’ backfields, Luis Castillo is likewise being counted on to free Merriman up to do exactly that.<<<

Does anyone have the full story? or has it been posted elsewhere on this board? - as I am not a subscriber/insider to SDBoltReport.com.


Quote from GdoubleE:
>>>"Maybe not in the short sighted versions you all look at it"<<<

GdoubleE - You've got some strong opinions and that's great - it's good to see different viewpoints, but in THIS CASE - I think they've got YOU out numbered ;)

I would tend to say that there are maybe 3 sides/viewpoints in any contract matter involving baseball, basketball, or football etc. and that would be #1 from the players perspective, another from the organizations perspective, and the 3rd from the fans perspective. As a fan I would hope for FAIRNESS from BOTH sides - players should be compensated fairly etc. AND the organizations should also be dealt with fairly and NOT be viewed as bankers with big fat wallets dolling out more and more as if it's candy.

As fans/consumers ultimately pay the ticket/concession/souvenir prices etc. and support BOTH the team and the player. If YOU'VE got a lot of extra money to burn and can afford the spiraling prices of everything etc. that's great! some aren't as fortunate.

The thing that makes the LEAST sense to me in all of the "huge contracts" are NOT the players who've PROVEN their abilities at the pro level but rather it's the ROOKIE who has NEVER suited up, NEVER played a game and HASN'T PROVEN they can play at the pro level YET - getting the huge money. With the Ryan Leaf situation it really hurt the Chargers and affected them for at least 2-3 years and there are other organizations that have taken "hits" like the Chargers have.

As A fan I hope the Chargers sign A.G. to a nice, fat, yet fair contract that works for BOTH sides.


07-19-2005, 03:46 PM
Here's the remainder of that article about Castillo -

Luis Castillo has elite bulk and power for a defensive end, and his quickness and game smarts make him an ideal fit in the Chargers’ defense. At six-foot-three and 303 lbs., many have said that Castillo has all the makings of a dominant performer. Eric Washington, Castillo’s defensive line coach at Northwestern, was quick to second such notions.

“He was the most complete defensive lineman I’ve ever worked with,” Washington said. “He’s very consistent and plays with a very high motor.”

It is not surprising that Castillo impressed Washington as he did. He finished his collegiate career with 251 total tackles, an incredible number for a defensive lineman. He also used his quickness to disrupt plays before they ever developed, as evidenced by the 19.5 tackles for a loss he recorded while at Northwestern.

But while his on field productivity was impressive, it was Castillo’s understanding of the game that most impressed Washington. It is something that set him apart, and allowed him to best maximize his phenomenal potential.

“In terms of his character, he’s very dependable, and that’s what you look for in a player,” Washington said. “I could depend on Luis to know his assignments, to execute them and to be where he was supposed to be. That’s huge for a coach, I mean, that’s everything.”

Now that is has been established that the Chargers got themselves a heck of a player in Castillo, it remains to be seen where to will use him. There appears to be an opening at the defensive end position opposite Igor Olshansky, but Castillo can play nose tackle as well.

“I think he’ll probably line up as an end and then reduce to the classic three-technique position,” predicted Washington. “He can really collapse the interior B gap. I think he can do extremely well in that role. He can also slide over and play some nose. I think he can do a lot of good things as a point of attack defender.”

Although Washington was full of praise for his former player, he did point out that Castillo is not yet a finished product. While his potential is exciting, he still has some fundamentals to improve on if he is going to get the most out of his enormous physical capabilities.

“He’s still working on his pass rush technique and his pass rush recognition, which is what will allow him to get pressure and to be an effective player,” Washington said. “That and just some of the technical aspects of the defensive line position.”

Still, those are all areas of Castillo’s game that will improve with experience. But his size, strength, quickness and passion are all things that can’t be taught. The Chargers will happily take those admirable characteristics and simply coach up the rest. That is why Castillo was such an appealing pick, among other reasons.

“What was really attractive about him, based on the feedback that we got, is that he has incredible versatility for a big man,” according to Washington.

Once versatility is added to Castillo’s laundry list of exemplary attributes, it becomes easy to see why the Chargers were so excited to land him. The only people happier than the Chargers’ coaches to have Castillo on board are the Chargers’ linebackers. Players such as Donnie Edwards, Steve Foley and now Shawne Merriman must be thrilled, because each of those stars just had their job made a little easier.

Michael Lombardo can be reached at Lombardo@SanDiegoSports.net

07-19-2005, 04:45 PM
Chargeroo - Thank You Very Much :D Good Reading!

07-19-2005, 04:50 PM
Chargeroo - Thank You Very Much :D Good Reading!
Sure, no trouble. It gives me more hope that Castillo is the guy we were hoping for opposite Igor - does it do the same for you?

07-19-2005, 04:56 PM
Good article roo, Yep. The better castillo does the better the defense will do. Fingers are way crossed that he does very well.

The point is if he has to be double teamed. A team can't double team jamall and IGOR as well. And IGOR should make an improvement this year. Alot depends on just how well Castillo does. He's just a rookie. But he's smart.

07-19-2005, 06:28 PM
He was pretty much forced to sign that contract last year. He was never a FA like he wanted to be. If he was a FA last year do you think he would've signed for that amount? I don't. Why? Because he is worth more than that.

Think about it for a sec. The niners traded him to Baltimore and he was right in raising the fuss because his agent messed up. NOw the only way out of Baltimore is to get Philly to trade. So he signed a contract that would help him get out of Baltimore the fastest to the team he wanted to play for.

It was really a strange occurance when I think back on it. He should be allowed to ask for a new contract since it will be the last one he gets. And it is not like he has ever received a contract at the elite level. The Niners got him on the cheap for both contracts because he wasn't a proven star at that point. When he could opt out, his agent screwed up and then he had to sign a smaller contract or else he would have been stuck at Baltimore with the contract he went there with.

Go Bolts!!!

This will never happen !! But maybe players should be paid on a weekly basis, just like we get paid at our jobs, by their production. And by what they did during that season.

07-19-2005, 07:15 PM
Device helps monitor body temp

Posted on Tue, Jul. 19, 2005


Former Vikings offensive lineman Korey Stringer is the only NFL player to die of heatstroke.

Four years after he collapsed during training camp, the Vikings are exploring the use of a "radio pill" that would allow trainers to monitor players' body temperatures while they practice.

"We've been discussing it for months," Vikings trainer Chuck Barta said Monday. "We've been looking at different information. We're looking to see if we'll use it this year.

The system was developed by Palmetto, Fla.-based HQ Inc., and already is used by the Philadelphia Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars.

"It's been a good measuring tool for us to help prevent heat illness," Jaguars head trainer Mike Ryan said. "Any time you're in Florida in the summer, it's always a concern."

It gets hot in Mankato, too, and the Vikings open camp there on July 29. It was 84 degrees with a heat index of 97 the morning Stringer collapsed during conditioning drills. He had a body temperature of 108.8. Stringer was treated by a team of doctors for 14 hours before his organs shut down one by one and he died at Immanuel St. Joseph's Hospital at 1:50 a.m., Aug. 1, 2001.

Stringer was just 27. An autopsy determined he died of multiple organ failure because of heatstroke.

The new technology has gained notice in the wake of heat-related tragedies that have claimed the lives of Stringer as well as college and high school players over the past few years.

"We're always interested in looking at things that could help as far as the safety of our athletes," said Barta, who declined to estimate when the Vikings might decide on the system called CorTemp.

At the system's heart are the pills, which contain a sensor and are ingested by the players and wirelessly transmit their core temperatures to a hand-held device.

"It basically has a crystal in it whose frequency is proportional to a temperature," HQ Inc. President Bill Hicks said. "As the temperature increases, the frequency increases and vice versa."

Ryan said the Jaguars give the pills to certain players based on several variables, the biggest being whether they have a history of heat-related problems. He said players should take a pill at least two hours before practice, though the sensor begins transmitting temperatures as soon as it enters the body.

Hicks said food in the stomach area could affect the accuracy of the readings. Once it reaches the intestines, a process that can take several hours, the pill delivers a true core temperature.

"It can stay in the body for a couple of days and the pill itself can operate for nine days," Hicks said. "But generally, in the case of football players, the food's going to push through more quickly and therefore the pill's going to probably push through more quickly. So, as a general rule, it's a 24-hour, one-day pill."

Each pill costs around $40, though HQ Inc. sales/marketing manager Susan Smith said the price tag varies according to volume and NFL teams pay closer to $30 a pill.

"The team would be required to buy probably several hundred of them to do baseline information on their at-risk players," she said.

A base CorTemp system consists of temperature pills and generally two or three data recorders, priced at $2,500 apiece. The data recorders allow a trainer to read a player's temperature with each recorder accepting up to 99 sensors.

For an additional $4,000, a team can purchase a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant), a hand-held computer that allows one trainer to centrally monitor all players while their individual core temperatures are being taken by assistants.

"It's a long-range system that interfaces with the PDA," Smith said. "You can have multiple athletic trainers or interns out in the field taking temps of up to 99 players. It's all sent back on a radio frequency to the PDA and the head team doc or some medical person can actually view all the players in real time."

The technology has existed since the mid-1980s, but the product was developed for use in the space shuttle and only in recent years has it moved into the field of sports physiology. Several college programs use the system, including Illinois, Florida and Virginia Tech.

The Eagles have used the system for two seasons, the Jaguars for one. Smith said the company has been talking to the Vikings, Tennessee Titans and Carolina Panthers.

Eagles director of football media services Derek Boyko said Philadelphia trainers pulled a defensive lineman with no signs of heat stress off the field during a training camp practice last summer because he had a core temperature reading of 105.7. He later resumed activities.

The Jaguars will use the system again this season. "It seems to work well within our setting," Ryan said.

Jaguars sign Barnes


The Jacksonville Jaguars have agreed to terms on a contract with rookie offensive tackle Khalif Barnes today. Barnes was drafted in the second round and was one of eight players selected by the Jaguars in the 2005 NFL Draft in April. He is the fifth Jaguars draft pick and second of the NFL's second-round picks to agree to terms.

Barnes, 23, was the 52nd overall selection in the draft. The 6-5, 315-pounder was a four-year starter at Washington. He started 42 consecutive games before missing the final seven games as a senior after fracturing his right wrist. The Spring Valley, Calif. native allowed only three sacks as a junior and senior.

All 88 Jaguars are under contract except for three of this year's draft picks.

07-19-2005, 07:35 PM
Not giving up on first-round draft pick


Most NFL teams say they constantly tell their young players to make smart decisions when away from football, to always be on the lookout for potential trouble, to be wary of everyone they meet.

But sometimes players suddenly flush with money and celebrity in a new city simply don't get the message, leaving teams scratching their heads and asking:

How do we get through to this guy?

Titans first-round pick Pacman Jones has yet to play in an NFL game but has already been in the proximity of an alleged crime three times since he was drafted.

Two of the incidents involved assault and two involved marijuana. He faces two misdemeanor assault charges and one felony vandalism charge from a nightclub incident July 13.

"It's like a child," Titans General Manager Floyd Reese said. "What works with one of your kids may not work with the other. But because it doesn't, you don't give up. We have to make him understand."

Said Jones' agent, Michael Huyghue: "All young players, particularly underclassmen, need to understand the transition, and obviously Adam is no different. Obviously we will work with him to make a lot more smooth transition than it's been to this point."

Under the NFL's personal conduct policy, any player charged with criminal activity is "required to undergo a clinical evaluation and, if appropriate, additional counseling or treatment as directed."

Jones' first court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 11. If he ultimately is found guilty or pleads guilty as part of a settlement, he will be subject to discipline determined by Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. Discipline could include a fine and/or suspension without pay.

Assault convictions or plea agreements typically result in suspensions of one or two games. The Titans are expecting offensive lineman Brad Hopkins to receive a one-game suspension for a conditional guilty plea to charges of assault and domestic violence in a case settled in April.

And Jones' proximity to marijuana on two occasions could lead the league's highly confidential substance abuse program to check on him.

Prior to his arrest Jones attended the NFL Rookie Symposium, where first-year pros are given lessons about life in the league and how to avoid trouble and troublemakers. The Titans also hold orientation and counseling with their rookies.

There is a widespread sense that Jones failed to connect with the sessions as well as his rookie counterparts or rookies of the past, but that's not unprecedented.

"This isn't the first time this has happened to us," Reese said. "Maybe this is the quickest and the most dramatic. But we've had trouble, everybody does. The concern lies throughout the league. I get a bellyache every morning when I pick up the sports page and see somebody on another team has an assault charge."

Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs has called Sean Taylor the most researched draft pick in NFL history, but in October the rookie safety was arrested for driving under the influence. The Redskins suspended Taylor for a game even though he was ultimately cleared of those charges.

Heading into his second NFL season, Taylor is facing a felony count of aggravated assault with a firearm and a misdemeanor count of simple battery. Those charges stem from a June 1 incident in Florida.

Even before the latest incident, Taylor had upset the Redskins by skipping the team's offseason workout program.

"He's a gifted player," Gibbs said in May. "So many times in sports, you're saying, 'How do I reach that guy there?' ... I certainly don't consider him a lost cause. He's a dynamic player, a great player. But (his continued absence from the workout program) has been a big disappointment for us."

When his latest set of legal troubles emerged, the Redskins told Taylor to get things sorted out and excused him from the rest of the offseason.

The Titans have also tried to help players get through legal issues.

The franchise signed undrafted defensive tackle Josh Evans out of UAB in 1995 and grew to love the motor and spirit of an underdog who developed into a starter for the team that played in Super Bowl XXXIV.

The franchise stuck with Evans even as he endured two suspensions related to violations of the NFL's substance abuse policy — he missed four games in 1999 and the entire 2000 season. Evans became a free agent in 2002 and signed with the Jets.

"Guys like that, great people, you work your butt off with them," Reese said. "Maybe it worked, maybe it didn't, but you don't give up."

Nashville attorney Jordan Keller, whose clients include the Backstreet Boys, has dealt with young musicians who are learning how to handle attention and money. He said self-policing by group members can be effective.

"Sometimes it comes down to good old peer pressure from the people who are sort of rowing with you in the boat," Keller said. "People that become celebrities live in such a different world, it's hard for them to hear it from somebody who has a regular life, who doesn't have everything they do watched and reported on.

"If you hear it from people in the same place, it might be a wake-up call. The people out there sweating with him, whether it's on stage or on the field, put them in a room and let them deal with it. A lot of times that impacts behavior, action, attitudes."

Peer pressure helped the Titans with Albert Haynesworth in May 2004, when Coach Jeff Fisher battled the young defensive tackle over his lack of participation in the team's offseason program. Then Haynesworth missed a minicamp practice, claiming a schedule mix-up.

Several Titans, most notably quarterback Steve McNair, reacted strongly.

"That is a slap in the face for us," McNair said at the time. " … Does Albert really want to win? If he really wants to win, he'd be here. If I am here, yes, he is disrespecting me not being here."

Haynesworth responded, becoming more reliable and dedicated.

Jones will also get a message in numbers when contract negotiations heat up in the next 10 days. Training camp is scheduled to begin July 29.

The Titans are likely to offer Jones a package with little, if any, guaranteed money. And the determination they've had in years past to get all their draft choices locked up by the start of camp could take a backseat this time.

"We're going to have to protect ourselves three or four different ways," Reese said of contract talks. "We're not going to run the risk of doing something dumb to make sure somebody doesn't miss day one. This one will be a little bit different, and it's not something we've created."

As for the process of recalibrating the young cornerback's course, Reese said Jones will have several constituencies working together to help him deal with current problems and avoid future ones. Nashville attorney Roger May, who's representing Jones, is likely to play a role.

"Between the league, us, him, his agent, we're going to have to sit down and figure this thing out," Reese said. "We're not surprising anybody by saying we're not going to tolerate those kind of things.

"Part of it's maturity. You have to realize you're not the same guy you were a year ago or two years ago or two weeks ago. With all the pluses you get as a professional athlete, there is a lot of responsibility involved. It's not all gravy."

07-19-2005, 09:45 PM
From SDBoltReport.com

Coach Washington on Luis Castillo: "Complete"
By Michael Lombardo
Date: Jul 19, 2005

>>>There are two kinds of players who can really help a defense: those who can be stars and make game-altering plays, and those who allow the stars to have the impact that they do. Just as Shawne Merriman is being expected to make his living in opponents’ backfields, Luis Castillo is likewise being counted on to free Merriman up to do exactly that.<<<

Does anyone have the full story? or has it been posted elsewhere on this board? - as I am not a subscriber/insider to SDBoltReport.com.


Quote from GdoubleE:
>>>"Maybe not in the short sighted versions you all look at it"<<<

GdoubleE - You've got some strong opinions and that's great - it's good to see different viewpoints, but in THIS CASE - I think they've got YOU out numbered ;)

I would tend to say that there are maybe 3 sides/viewpoints in any contract matter involving baseball, basketball, or football etc. and that would be #1 from the players perspective, another from the organizations perspective, and the 3rd from the fans perspective. As a fan I would hope for FAIRNESS from BOTH sides - players should be compensated fairly etc. AND the organizations should also be dealt with fairly and NOT be viewed as bankers with big fat wallets dolling out more and more as if it's candy.

As fans/consumers ultimately pay the ticket/concession/souvenir prices etc. and support BOTH the team and the player. If YOU'VE got a lot of extra money to burn and can afford the spiraling prices of everything etc. that's great! some aren't as fortunate.

The thing that makes the LEAST sense to me in all of the "huge contracts" are NOT the players who've PROVEN their abilities at the pro level but rather it's the ROOKIE who has NEVER suited up, NEVER played a game and HASN'T PROVEN they can play at the pro level YET - getting the huge money. With the Ryan Leaf situation it really hurt the Chargers and affected them for at least 2-3 years and there are other organizations that have taken "hits" like the Chargers have.

As A fan I hope the Chargers sign A.G. to a nice, fat, yet fair contract that works for BOTH sides.


Its easy to take one sentence out of a post and make it have different meaning.

The short sightedness I refferred to was the fact that when a player says " I need to take care of my family" most fans think about his kids and wife and parents. His immediate family. Whe in reality the player is thinking of his future generations. Do you think Bill Gates is still pursuing money for his immediate family or do you think Trump made his TV show because his daughters needed new cars? No they are tryiong to make as much money as possible so that they can make sure thier future generations can have it easier. This is not only perpetraited by fans but also the media outlets as well. I can't count on two hands how many times I have heard Rome or the Brick go on and on about how some players whether it be Spreewell or TO need to take care of thier families. They just rip them apart without giving thought to the future generations of the family.

You can talk about how you wouldn't go against your word all you want but if your emplyoer decided come time to get your paycheck that he wanted to pay you a dollar less an hour next week and you can either renegotiate or you can be released, how would you react?

Like someone said earlier it is a two way street. Many times, teams ask players to renegotiate contracts to save the team some money, which means less money for the player right now. Sometimes when the player feels ripped off which is understandable, because the team doesn't want to pay them what they said they would, the player says no. Then the player gets to seek future employment with someone else never to see the money that was promised them.

So it does work both ways. Players sign contracts and feel like they are worth more and teams sign contracts never planning to pay what they agreed to. My point was that the fans are especially harsh to the players and never seem to have the same attitude about the teams that dont keep thier word.

As far as being outnumbered, I have been in that position ever since last preseason when I didn't see the need of drafting a QB when we had one who had only played two years and was a second round draft pick. I am sure I will be outnumbered again in the future and no one has a problem with that least of all me.

Go Bolts!!!

07-19-2005, 09:46 PM
The Spring Valley, Calif. native allowed only three sacks as a junior and senior.

before the draft i read in some places that he gave up 3 or 4 a game a couple times.

07-19-2005, 10:30 PM
So it does work both ways. Players sign contracts and feel like they are worth more and teams sign contracts never planning to pay what they agreed to. My point was that the fans are especially harsh to the players and never seem to have the same attitude about the teams that dont keep thier word.

That's easy to explain - we're fans of the TEAM, the individual players are only one fiftieth of the team. Fans want what's best for the team.

07-19-2005, 10:33 PM
Sure, no trouble. It gives me more hope that Castillo is the guy we were hoping for opposite Igor - does it do the same for you?

One word: >YES< :D

Could be a STUD "D" line if everything comes together with 3 players that have NT experience. Like last yr - I don't think stopping the run will be as big of a challenge for these guys as the pass rush.

It sounds like Luis has ALL the physical tools, he's very bright and the quote: "many have said that Castillo has all the makings of a dominant performer" gives one hope that he may turn out to be a gem. He would seem to be in the right place - as one of Marty's fortes is teaching.

Jamal is Jamal and hopefully he'll continue doing his thing - which everyone knows he does very well, Igor has 1yr under HIS belt and hopefully he will be the force that some envision him being and now Luis - who may be further ahead than Igor was when he first came in (junior and FB background) Luis certainly may have some things to work on - if he doesn't hold out - he'll have a full training camp to work on those things, so it wouldn't be surprising that he can make an early contribution to the Chargers "D".

It would be nice to have a Dwight Freeney type amongst these guys - and who knows maybe someone will step up and surprise everyone. There seems to be guys with capability and potential etc. but as of YET it's unproven. Jacques Cesaire deserves credit for what he has done (undrafted to starting) and Dave Ball showed well last yr before he got hurt etc.

Can't wait to see some of these young guys play! - and I wonder if there's any hidden gems in those undrafted rookie FA's that we'll be seeing come Aug 11th against the Pack.

Thanks again for the article!

Take Care


07-19-2005, 10:34 PM
That's easy to explain - we're fans of the TEAM, the individual players are only one fiftieth of the team. Fans want what's best for the team.

And there you have it in short and eloquent form from "The Master".

"We're not worthy, Roo!!" :p :Beer:

And don't take it that I don't understand the players' side of the equation. It's just that when you're one year into a seven year contract, have sworn to the head coach/GM that you're not going to repeat the same nonsense that you had been engaging in for the past few seasons and immediately welch on your promise, you're going to have problems with the most hard-nosed organization in the NFL.

Good for you, Andy Reid. We'll see who comes crawling to who in the next couple of months. And remember, Gdub, it's all business. But TO will have to face the leader of the squad (and one of the NFL poster boys) that he publically called out for no reason at all. That's a treasonous act in any locker room, and TO has a lot of penance to pay for his mouth. :(

07-19-2005, 11:21 PM
Quote(s) from GdoubleE:
>>>"Maybe not in the short sighted versions you all look at it"<<<

"Its easy to take one sentence out of a post and make it have different meaning."

"The short sightedness I refferred to was the fact that when a player says"

GdoubleE - could you please point out where "I" made that one sentence have "different meaning" ??? :confused:

Within THAT one sentence you used the words "YOU ALL" which I found interesting because it seemed to say that nobody else looks at it correctly EXCEPT for YOU.

Below THAT one line I simply voiced an opinion (mine) regarding contracts, players, teams and fans etc. which are multi-dimensional NOT just from the players perspective.

Sorry for the mis-understanding and good luck on your crusade for T.O. and others like him that are mis-understood underpaid etc.

Me - I'm just a simple Chargers fan who is hoping for a good season :)


07-20-2005, 10:49 AM
I like your post number 967. That's a real good look at our D-line.

I live in Oregon and I watched young Igor at the U of Oregon. I knew he had a lot to learn to be good in the NFL but you see his strength and desire and you think he's gonna be one of those guys that just keeps getting better - like John Parrella did. I expect he'll be a bit better this year and perhaps by the second half of the season it will begin to show real well.

I think we're all under-rating Ball. He already has good moves for rushing the passer and he could be a sleeper for us. Remember that he looked like a force in pre-season? With another TC and and an added year of workouts, he may be our surprise this year. Any way you look at it - the depth is greater by far now and this team should be better than last years!

07-20-2005, 11:02 AM
Chargers’ Pollard wants to be part of rotation
Robert Pollard

By Michael Lombardo
Date: Jul 20, 2005

The Chargers have made incredible progress over the last twelve months, not just as a team, but on an individual level as well. The team relied on contributions from several rookies last season, and those players are now a year wiser. One such player is Robert Pollard, a second-year defensive end out of TCU.

Robert Pollard spent the majority of last season on the practice squad, but was signed to the active roster prior to the season finale against Kansas City. So while his game experience is still limited, the lessons he learned during his rookie season were invaluable.

“I feel a lot more comfortable this year,” Pollard said. “I’m not the youngest guy here anymore. I know the system now, which helps a lot.”

Now that he has received a taste of what NFL life is like, he knows how much hard work he has to invest if he is to earn a roster spot on this deep team. That is why he is showing more dedication this offseason than ever before.

Normally, Pollard and other TCU alums would return to their alma mater during the offseason as a sort of Horned Frog reunion. This year, however, Pollard has been unable to return, as he has been too busy conditioning for the upcoming season.

“I’ve just been doing the workouts, pretty much,” Pollard said. “We have four workouts a week, so it keeps me busy. I’m just trying to get ready for next season.”

As he continues to make himself game-ready from a physical standpoint, he likewise strives to continue his mental progression. Because he has been in the system for over a year now, he feels as though he is much better prepared to execute without hesitation.

“I have a better understanding of the plays,” admitted Pollard. “Not just what to do, but why to do it and how to do it.”

He also has a better understanding of what the coaching staff expects of him. He sat down with Coach Schottenheimer at the end of last season, and he left the meeting feeling very upbeat about the opportunities in front of him.

“They told me they liked what they saw in me,” recalled Pollard. “I still need to work on some things, but I feel pretty good right now. It’s fun to be a part of the team and to really learn the game…learning how to break down plays and stuff like that.”

It is no surprise that Pollard is having fun, seeing as all of the success the team enjoyed last season. Winning makes everything better, and Pollard knows that the stakes are even higher now that this team has Super Bowl aspirations. But Pollard, much like the team, is not getting ahead of himself just yet.

“I want to be a part of the rotation,” said Pollard when asked of his personal goals for the upcoming season. “That and just to continue to work hard.”

It is not often that you hear a player cite continued hard work as a personal goal. It’s that kind of blue-collar work ethic that helped the Chargers win the division title last year. Now let’s just see if it’s enough to earn Robert Pollard a spot on an even deeper roster. Wouldn't it funny if some guy like this turned out to be the starter? You never know. Tow years ago we didn't think Gates had much a chance.

07-20-2005, 12:04 PM
I live in Oregon and I watched young Igor at the U of Oregon. I knew he had a lot to learn to be good in the NFL but you see his strength and desire and you think he's gonna be one of those guys that just keeps getting better - like John Parrella did. I expect he'll be a bit better this year and perhaps by the second half of the season it will begin to show real well.

Roo - I sure hope he has a better sack dance than big John P had - ugliest demonstration I ever saw on the field! ;)

07-20-2005, 02:32 PM
I like your post number 967. That's a real good look at our D-line.

I live in Oregon and I watched young Igor at the U of Oregon. I knew he had a lot to learn to be good in the NFL but you see his strength and desire and you think he's gonna be one of those guys that just keeps getting better - like John Parrella did. I expect he'll be a bit better this year and perhaps by the second half of the season it will begin to show real well.

I think we're all under-rating Ball. He already has good moves for rushing the passer and he could be a sleeper for us. Remember that he looked like a force in pre-season? With another TC and and an added year of workouts, he may be our surprise this year. Any way you look at it - the depth is greater by far now and this team should be better than last years!

Thank You :) but I did forget to mention the OTHER Shaun - Phillips - he was exciting to watch and although he's listed as a LB he did line up on the LOS and showed great speed and instincts etc - and with a yr under HIS belt could be in contention for a starting spot (sometimes he came off the edge so fast while making his cut to the QB slipped/lost his footing - he may need to learn to harness THAT speed and learn a couple moves etc - but boy he was exciting and DID get to the QB and make plays etc). Shaun P. could be one of those guys that's hard to keep off the field because he makes plays.

Your right about Dave Ball - a question I have on him is about his back - it's been mentioned several times he's missed time/practice because of it - is it a recurring or permanent problem? but yeah, he DID look good before his toe last yr.

Oregon - beautiful place! and speaking of the Ducks - one guy that intrigued me from last yr was this Haloti Ngata 6'5" 338lbs HUGE! - kinda like Igor! you may have seen this it's from June 27th '05 titled "Haloti Ngata makes the early watch list"

Take Care Chargeroo - we'll hope for the best and really feel A.J. has re-stocked the once barren Charger cupboard with some pretty good talent! ;)

and one last thing - always enjoy reading your posts!

07-20-2005, 03:24 PM
rumor, profootballtalk.com, Spears or maybe (hopefully) Ware close to signing...


"Real" media, start your engines.

We've received an unsubstantiated tip that the Dallas Cowboys are close to signing first-round draft choice Marcus Spears to a rookie deal.

The signing, we're told, could occur as soon as tomorrow.

Spears was the second of two defensive ends drafted by the Cowboys in round one. They took him with the 20th overall pick, which came from Buffalo as a result of the 2004 draft-day trade that allowed the Bills to select quarterback J.P. Losman, who in turn rendered former starter Drew Bledsoe obsolete, which in turn enabled the Cowboys to upgrade the position by signing Bledsoe as a free agent in 2005.

The Cowboys surprised some by passing over Maryland defensive end/linebacker Shawne Merriman at the eleven hole for DeMarcus Ware.

Merriman went in the next spot to the Chargers -- and might not sign a contract before the frost is on the pumpkin. In Hell.

Meanwhile, an industry source tells us that Spears and the Cowboys aren't close to a deal. So we don't know what the hell to think at this point. Given that a prior version of this post got Spears confused with Ware, maybe Ware is the one who's close to signing.

Stay tuned.

pft rumormill 7-20-05 (http://www.profootballtalk.com/rumormill.htm)

07-20-2005, 07:07 PM
Posted on Wed, Jul. 20, 2005
By CLARENCE E. HILL JR Star-Telegram Staff Writer


IRVING - With training camp less than two weeks away, Cowboys defensive end Greg Ellis wants to clear the air.

He said any characterizations about him being disgruntled about his place on the team because of the switch to the 3-4 defense, or him having a problem with Cowboys coach Bill Parcells because of a heated discussion between the two in June are off-base.

Ellis said he has been assured by Parcells and owner Jerry Jones that he remains a big part of the Cowboys' plans.

And when he returns to Dallas on Monday from a three-week stay in North Carolina in preparation for the start of training camp July 28, he will do so with the mind-set of doing whatever Parcells asks him to do.

Yet, Ellis also remains "realistic" about his long-term future in Dallas.

"I don't truly think I will be let go at the end of the [2005] season," Ellis said. "But with the way the team is going, I don't think I will be around for a long term. I just don't believe I will be here as long as I thought I would."

Ellis feels that way despite efforts from Parcells and Jones to convince him otherwise.

Ellis, a first-round pick in 1998 who has led the team in sacks the past four seasons, says he's not big enough at 270 pounds to be successful in a 3-4 defense for a long period of time.

Ellis has always been a little undersized. But in the 4-3 defense, which the Cowboys have used the past seven years, he lined up outside the offensive tackle, allowing him to use his quickness. He is at a greater physical disadvantage in the 3-4 because he will line up head-to-head with the tackle.

Parcells believes Ellis can do it because the coach plans to cut Ellis' playing time to about 60 snaps a game, which will lessen the wear and tear on his body and keep him fresher late in games and late in the season. It could conceivably extend his career.

"That is one of the things we talked about, what my role is," Ellis said. "He told me to go and play and keep doing what I am doing.

"Bill is convinced. He is the coach and has done this a long time. He thinks I can do this and be fine in it."

Still, Ellis remains leery.

"The odds aren't in my favor," he said. "But he is the coach. I will do it. I have a lot of respect for him. I am not going to quit, and I am going to make the best of it. But with my body build, I just don't believe I can do that for a lot of years."

Ellis being at the center of this so-called controversy is ironic. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones took Ellis instead of bad boy Randy Moss in the 1998 draft because of his good-guy image.

While he has yet to go to a Pro Bowl, compared to five for Moss, Ellis has never made any negative headlines, either.

Jones said it's a decision he has never regretted. And he remains steadfastly behind Ellis being a member of the Cowboys for years to come.

"I've talked to Jerry about it, and he said, 'We have no intention of getting rid of you,' " Ellis said.

"It was very positive coming from Jerry. He made me feel better about it. I am excited about the season and looking forward to having a good year."

Ellis, who is signed through 2009, remains "realistic." Because of the team's continued search for players who fit the 3-4, his age and the unnatural fit of the scheme, he understands that anything could happen -- especially if his production slips. Ellis has base salaries of $2.25 million in 2005 and 2006, $2.5 million in 2007, $3.3 million in 2008 and $4.1 million in 2009. He is due a $500,000 roster bonus in March 2006.

Contract negotiations

The Cowboys are expected to come to terms with rookie safety Justin Beriault as soon as today. The sixth-round pick from Ball State is looking at a three-year deal, including a $54,000 signing bonus and minimum salaries of $230,000 in 2005, $310,000 in 2006 and $385,000 in 2007.

Progress is also being made with defensive end Jay Ratliff, a seventh-round pick. His agent, Mark Slough, said the two sides should come to terms in the next couple of days.

While the Cowboys are in the midst of ongoing discussions with running back Marion Barber III (fourth round) and tackle Rob Petitti (sixth round), things are just getting under way with linebackers Demarcus Ware (first round) and Kevin Burnett (second round) and defensive ends Marcus Spears (first round) and Chris Canty (fourth round).

07-20-2005, 07:13 PM
Receiver Competition Begins After Top Three Spots
By Nick Eatman DallasCowboys.com Staff Writer
July 19, 2005, 5:23 PM (CDT)

IRVING, Texas - No other position went seemingly as untouched this off-season as wide receiver.

And that is somewhat of a surprise, considering how injuries decimated the position in 2004, leaving the Cowboys playing with several inexperienced players towards the end of the season.

So while several mock drafts had the Cowboys taking a wide receiver with one of their two first-round picks, and other analysts figured they would throw their hat in the free-agent ring for a player such as Plaxico Burress, the Cowboys stood pat at wide receiver.

Other than signing a pair of rookie free agents after the draft, the Cowboys will head into training camp next week with virtually the same receiving corps as a year ago . . . just healthier.

Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn lead the way once again, both having fully recovered from foot injuries suffered last season.

Losing Glenn might have been the biggest pill the Cowboys had to swallow last year. Leading the team in both receptions and receiving yards through five games, Glenn tore ligaments in his foot in the first quarter against Green Bay in Game 6. He spent the final 10 games on injured reserve, his season abruptly ending with just 24 catches for 400 yards and two touchdowns.

Johnson nearly finished the entire season before breaking his foot early in the season finale against the Giants. In his first year with the Cowboys, Johnson just missed recording his fifth 1,000-yard receiving season, finishing with 981, still enough to lead the team, edging out tight end Jason Witten by a yard.

Johnson and Witten also tied for the team-lead with six touchdown catches, a number the flashy wide receiver would certainly like to increase in 2005. And with quarterback Drew Bledsoe now in charge, Johnson could be in line for an even better season this year, especially if Glenn, Witten and Quincy Morgan can stay healthy.

Morgan, who joined the Cowboys on Oct. 19 in the Antonio Bryant trade, couldn't finish his first game without getting injured. His strained hamstring suffered against the Packers forced him to miss two games. He slowly was incorporated into the offense, but never became a huge factor. His four-catch, 42-yard performance against Baltimore was his best of the last eight games.

Like Johnson and Glenn, Morgan also had minor off-season surgery to remove bone growth behind his left knee and should be recovered from a slight shoulder injury suffered during the team's on-field training sessions this summer.

Don't forget, Glenn injured his foot in Morgan's first game. So the trio, including Johnson, only played together for one quarter last year.

All three returned for the team's only veteran mini-camp in late May and should be 100 percent for the start of camp. Not only that, but it's unlikely anyone will challenge the trio for the top three spots.

The only exception could be with Morgan, who was somewhat inconsistent last season, although he was forced to learn a new offense on the fly. Morgan, though, could be a different player from a year ago after working this off-season re-conditioning himself and in the Cowboys offense.

Even head coach Bill Parcells said he is intrigued by Morgan's possibilities, and admitted he is looking forward to seeing his progress in training camp.

If there are challengers for that third receiver spot, they'll likely come from either Terrance Copper and/or Patrick Crayton, a pair of rookies who benefited from the team's injuries last season at receiver.

In a three-week span from Nov. 21 to Dec. 6, Copper caught seven passes for 84 yards and a touchdown. But he did not catch a pass in the final four games of the season.

Crayton, a college quarterback who needed more time to transition to NFL receiver, finished the season with his two best games. He filled in for a fatigued Copper on the last drive against Washington, making a critical fourth-down catch to keep comeback hopes alive and then hauled in the game-winning 39-yard touchdown pass to beat the Redskins with only 30 seconds to play.

He followed that up with a five-catch, 58-yard night against the Giants to end the season.

After the top three spots, any receiver who makes the squad must contribute on special teams. And that could bode well for both Zuriel Smith and Ahmad Merritt.

Smith, a sixth-round draft pick in 2003, was released by the Cowboys in preseason and ended up not playing last season. Smith led the Cowboys in both kickoff- and punt-return yards as a rookie, but wasn't consistent enough as a receiver to make the squad for a second year. He's added muscle to his upper-body, and will need to be a more physical player to stick around this year.

Merritt, a three-year veteran from Chicago, rejoins Cowboys receiver coach Todd Haley, who held the same position with the Bears. Merritt (5-10, 195) had an impressive mini-camp, and will need to be solid at receiver, covering kicks and maybe even returning them, too, to have a chance of making the final 53-man roster.

Tom Crowder, who spent most of last year on the practice squad, switched from safety to receiver last year and appears to have made the adjustment. He showed much improvement in two mini-camps this summer, his track speed his best asset. Remember, he's a special teams guy who needs a position to play to qualify a roster spot.

And don't forget about rookie free agents Reggie Harrell and Jamaica Rector, although it will take remarkable performances during training camp for them to end up on anything more than the practice squad.

That is assuming all the top receivers stay healthy this summer, a feat the Cowboys couldn't accomplish a last season.

Keyshawn Johnson : Prides himself on being a complete receiver, and proved to be such last year. May not have the best numbers, but still is one of the NFL's better all-around receivers.
Terry Glenn: When he went down in October, the Cowboys lost their speed. Not many receivers are faster than Glenn, despite turning 31 next week. The Cowboys need him to stay healthy.Remember what he did to the Bolts a few years in New England
Quincy Morgan : Struggled to learn the offense and stay healthy last year. Parcells is counting on him heavily in 2005.
Patrick Crayton: Let's see if he's fully adjusted to playing receiver. Strong finish to rookie season; needs to ride that momentum.
Terrance Copper: Young receiver who came out of nowhere last year to lend a helping hand. Route running must improve.
Ahmad Merritt: Veteran with special teams skills. Also has rapport with WR coach. Now let's see if he can take advantage of this opportunity.
Zuriel Smith: Never turned the corner last year despite solid rookie season in 2003. Can return both punts and kickoffs, but must improve receiving skills.
Tom Crowder: Switched to WR last year, and finally looked the part this summer. Good special teams player, but has to prove worthy at receiver first.
Reggie Harrell: The 6-3, local product from TCU needs to perform well in preseason games to grab attention. Might be practice squad material at first.
Jamaica Rector: In same boat as Harrell. But with veteran WR corps, should get plenty of chances in training camp and preseason.

Raiders reclaim TE Dudley


Tight end Rickey Dudley, who originally came to the Raiders as a highly touted ninth overall selection of the 1996 draft, rejoined the team Tuesday in a much different role -- signed as a free agent hoping to earn a spot near the bottom of the depth chart.

Dudley will compete in training camp with Zeron Flemister and Josh Norman for the third-string job behind holdover starter Courtney Anderson and top backup Teyo Johnson .

Since leaving the Raiders as a free agent after the 2000 season, Dudley's career has gone downhill, in large part because of injuries.

In five seasons with the Raiders, he did not miss a game, averaged 37 receptions a year and caught 29 touchdown passes. But in three of the last four seasons, playing for Cleveland and Tampa Bay, Dudley missed a total of 36 games and averaged only nine catches and one touchdown a year.

He played only four games with the Browns in 2001 before a foot injury ended his season. In 2003, a severe ankle sprain limited his season to seven games with the Bucs. And, playing for Tampa Bay in 2004, he sustained a compound thumb fracture against the Raiders in the third game of the season and did not play again.

07-20-2005, 07:32 PM

As for Brown, it appears he will miss at least a few days of training camp waiting for No. 1 overall pick quarterback Alex Smith's contract to be completed with San Francisco. Brown, the No. 2 overall pick, and subsequent picks Braylon Edwards and Cedric Benson, are likely to wait to see what Smith gets in a contract before doing serious negotiations.

According to a source close to agent Tom Condon, who is representing Smith, Smith isn't expected to be signed until July 28 at the earliest. That's when the 49ers are scheduled to report for training camp. That leaves a lag of at least four days for Brown. There are also indications that the Smith talks could drag.

Because the collective bargaining agreement has yet to be extended to six or seven years, the five-year contract limitation severely hampers agents and teams in the amount of guaranteed money a high pick can expect.

As a result, Condon has been spending time working on a very detailed contract. The source estimated that Smith's contract could run as long as 60 pages. Normally, contracts for top draft picks are usually about 15 pages.

That could cause quite a lag for the Dolphins and agent Todd France, who represents Brown. That said, having a running back report to camp on time is not usually a significant issue, and the Dolphins have the benefit of an extra exhibition game this season because they are playing in the Hall of Fame game Aug. 8 in Canton, Ohio.

As for Williams, Steinberg said he weighs more than 215 pounds. Williams has been supervised by the Dolphins in his workouts since returning to South Florida, although he has not been allowed to work out at the team facility.


Aside from Brown, talks with the agents for the other players the Dolphins selected have been progressing slowly. For instance, Albert Elias, the agent for fourth-round pick Travis Daniels, and the team have spent several days haggling about the language of a four-year deal.

Vikings: Talks get serious with rookie James
Kevin Seifert, Star Tribune July 20, 2005


The Vikings jumpstarted negotiations with their draft picks Tuesday by meeting at Winter Park with the agent for defensive end Erasmus James, the second of their two first-round draft picks. Although no deal is imminent, the sides laid important groundwork for what promises to be a frenzy of agreements around the NFL next week.

Agent Ethan Locke met with Rob Brzezinski, vice president of football operations, during an afternoon session. The sides will continue discussions by phone, and the team hopes to have James in uniform for the first practice of training camp on July 30.

The Vikings have made offers to the rest of their draft picks and could break through with agreements this week.


• The team is considering adding a veteran running back and has been in contact with the agent for running back Eddie George, who saw limited action with the Dallas Cowboys last season, rushing for 432 yards on 132 carries.

• Work on two Winter Park projects began this week. Team employees are dismantling the dilapidated Viking ship in its parking lot and a contractor soon will begin rebuilding it for a cost of about $10,000. Meanwhile, new ductwork and air conditioning units are scheduled to be installed at a cost of about $100,000.

What will Terrell do?
The Eagles' reluctant receiver is reaching for the sky, invoking Jesus in his contract squabble.


And here we thought Terrell Owens' role model was Jerry Rice.


Owens - or should we call him Terrell H. Owens now? - has set his sights even higher than the greatest wide receiver of all time. That "J" on Owens' "WWJD" bracelet is not for Jerry. It's for Jesus.

That's not a major surprise. The fact that T.O. sees himself and J.C. as peers? That was a major surprise.

But that's the message in Owens' comments in The Inquirer on Sunday. Asked about his contract problem with the Eagles, Owens didn't invoke the name of Curt Flood or even NFL free-agency pioneer Reggie White.

He went right over their heads. Waaaay over.

"At the end of the day," Owens told the Miami Herald's Jason Cole, "I don't have to worry about what people think of me, whether they hate me or not. People hated on Jesus. They threw stones at him and tried to kill him, so how can I complain or worry about what people think?"

While there is no mention in the King James version of the Bible of people who "hated on Jesus," you get the point. There's a direct correlation between the man the New Testament says died for the sins of all mankind and T.O., who wants a new contract from the Eagles.

At first it seems absurd. But mull it over for a little while, reflect on the story of Jesus a bit, and there is more common ground than you think.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Owens' Eagles career began at training camp in Bethlehem, Pa.

Jesus fed the multitudes with loaves and fishes. Owens wants more bread and thinks there was something fishy about his original deal.

Jesus walked on water. Owens reminds people of Ricky Watters.

Jesus rose from the dead after just three days. Owens came back from a broken ankle in just five weeks to play in the Super Bowl.

Jesus made wine from water. Owens made whine from a $49 million contract.

So you see, they are more alike than it first appears. And it makes perfect sense for Owens to compare reaction to his holdout to the persecution of Jesus.

Well, in T.O.'s mind, at least.

(Can we rewind back to this "hated on" thing? This is a really common, really despicable conceit, that you either adore and worship everything an athlete does or you're somehow "a hater." Criticizing Owens' course of action over the last few months is reasonable and fair and has nothing to do with hatred, OK? This self-serving use of the word by athletes is an insult to everyone who has been the victim of actual hatred. End of sermon.)

Look, the only real issues are whether Owens will wind up playing football for the Eagles this fall and whether any of his ill-advised remarks will create lasting problems for him, his teammates and the fans. That's it. Nobody really cares what Owens gets paid. If they did, they would be much more concerned with what Brian Westbrook's new $1.43 million contract looks like.

So we analyze these little T.O. appearances for clues to what will happen next.

That's why the Web and radio waves crackled over the last few days with speculation about Owens' reportedly chilly encounter with Donovan McNabb at ESPN's ESPY Awards last week. The two apparently didn't speak, even though they were in the same room for a long time.

That's why, when Owens starts comparing his plight to that of Jesus, we break out the old Concordance and try to puzzle out what his words reveal about his state of mind.

This one could go either way.

If Owens sees himself as a martyr, there's no telling how long he might be willing to hold out to make his point. If he feels his suffering is somehow truly noble, he could sit out the whole season.

If, on the other hand, Owens really thinks of Jesus as his role model, then he could well rise above these material concerns, stop coveting his neighbor's contract and put an end to this whole debacle.

Somehow, that doesn't seem very likely. Not when Owens went on to say, "Really, you've got to look at who the villain really is in this thing."

Presumably, he wasn't referring to Pontius Pilate, or to agent Drew Rosenhaus. If Owens thinks the Eagles are somehow villains, he really does have a persecution complex. That means it might take a miracle to get Owens to camp.

Fortunately, he's just the right guy to perform one.

07-21-2005, 05:18 AM
rumor, profootballtalk.com

Merriman went in the next spot to the Chargers -- and might not sign a contract before the frost is on the pumpkin. In Hell.
Those *********** never let an opportunity pass to take a potshot at the Bolts.

I'd love to meet the Editor of profootballtalk.com, so I could kick his ***.

07-21-2005, 05:35 PM
Those *********** never let an opportunity pass to take a potshot at the Bolts.

I'd love to meet the Editor of profootballtalk.com, so I could kick his ***.

How do you really feel about them?? :D

07-22-2005, 06:20 PM
...have alot of concerns going into the 2005 season, Offense first.
O-line, a recently signed RG in Rivera, who has had back surgery and RT is still a big ?.
Their QB (Bledsoe) is one of the most sacked leaders in the NFL.

Defense-DC (Zimmer) has never coached a 3-4 Defense.
Like the Bolts last year, the pokes have to familiarize themself's with a new scheme, while at the same time possibly starting 2 or 3 rookies.

Posted on Fri, Jul. 22, 2005
Owner holds high hopes for Gurode

By CLARENCE E. HILL JR Star-Telegram Staff Writer


IRVING - Fourth-year veteran Andre Gurode will challenge Al Johnson for the starting spot at center when the Cowboys' training camp opens July 28 in Oxnard, Calif., team owner Jerry Jones said.

Gurode, who lost his starting job at right guard when the Cowboys signed Marco Rivera as a free agent, was moved to center this off-season in an effort to find a spot for him to compete.

He played center as a rookie in 2002, but started the past two seasons at right guard. Gurode's inconsistency at guard prompted the Cowboys to upgrade the position with Rivera.

Gurode, however, has thrived this off-season with the move back to center, impressing Jones so much that he believes Gurode will challenge Johnson for the starting spot.

"The best games Gurode played for us since he's been here were when he started at center," Jones said. Johnson, a third-year veteran, started all 16 games for the Cowboys last season and proved to be one of the bright spots on the offensive line in his first year as a starter.

Few concerns

Considering the number of moves the Cowboys made to upgrade the roster, the defensive scheme and the coaching staff in the off-season, Jerry Jones is excited about this season. Jones spent more than $32 million in signing bonuses to add six free agents, including quarterback Drew Bledsoe, guard Marco Rivera, cornerback Anthony Henry and defensive lineman Jason Ferguson.

Jones said one of his main concerns is having to rely on so many young players, especially on defense where rookie top picks Marcus Spears and Demarcus Ware are expected to have immediate impact at end and rush linebacker, respectively.

Jones is also concerned about the veterans on defense having to learn a new scheme because of the switch to the 3-4 alignment and many of the coaches directing it for the first time. Jones said at least it will be "simplified."

A healthy team

Jerry Jones said the Cowboys will take a healthy team to training camp.

All the players who have missed time in the off-season because of various injuries should be ready to practice, including linebacker Kevin Burnett, center Tyson Walter, tackle Jacob Rogers, receiver Quincy Morgan and receiver Terrance Copper.

The only player who won't be cleared for the start of training camp is rookie defensive end Chris Canty, who is recovering from eye surgery.

Jones said Canty has far exceeded expectations in his recovery, more so than the Cowboys expected when they selected him in the fourth round of the 2005 draft.

Jones said Canty will miss the first week of training camp and the first preseason game against Arizona. He is set to practice the week of Aug. 8 and play in the second preseason game against Seattle.

Jerry Jones said he understands defensive end Greg Ellis' concern about playing in the 3-4, but Ellis should have no qualms about his future with the Cowboys. "He is an integral part of our future," Jones said. "Bill [Parcells] and I are in the same place on that."

Jones downplayed the possibility of Larry Allen moving from left guard to right tackle, calling it a "long shot." He would prefer one of the current prospects (Torrin Tucker, Rob Petitti, Kurt Vollers) to solidify themselves there, but he said don't rule out 2004 draft pick Jacob Rogers. Jones said Rogers is having a strong off-season. And while Rogers will start camp working at left tackle behind starter Flozell Adams, Jones said he wouldn't be surprised if he plays his way into the mix at right tackle.

Abraham likely camp no-show

Friday, July 22, 2005 BY DAVE HUTCHINSON Star-Ledger Staff


HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Three-time Pro Bowl defensive end John Abraham, who wants a long-term contract, has refused to sign a one-year, $6.67 million tender offer as the club's franchise player and isn't expected to report to training camp on time.

The Jets report to camp on Thursday.

"I can't tell you when John is going to be here," general manager Terry Bradway said yesterday. "I think at some point he's going to be here. ... Nobody is mad. It's part of business."

It's highly unlikely Abraham is going to sit out the season and forfeit $6.67 million. And it's just as unlikely the Jets will give in to Abraham's demand of a long-term deal. Abraham can wait until the week of the opener to report without losing any money.

Coach Herman Edwards, who spoke to Abraham about a month ago, said he's not worried about Abraham and is confident the player will be in shape when he does show up because "I know John Abraham."

While the Jets readily admit Abraham is a prolific pass-rusher, they've balked at giving him a long-term deal because of his injury history. He has missed 23 of 80 career games in five seasons and two playoff games. In 2001, he got sick the night before a playoff game against the Raiders and played only briefly.

Bradway said he hasn't spoken to Abraham's representatives, Tony Agnone and Rich Rosa, since the blackout on talks was lifted on July 15.

Bradway said a long-term deal can't be discussed until Abraham signs his one-year tender. That, however, is a mere technicality. Abraham is said to be willing to sign the tender with the promise of a new deal, but the Jets have refused to make such a promise.

Rosa refused to comment on negotiations.

Abraham, who suffered a torn lateral collateral ligament in his left knee last season, feels he's the team's best defensive player and deserves a long-term deal. His injuries, his representatives have said, have all been legitimate.

In March, Abraham's representatives gave the Jets a proposal for a new deal that would protect the club against the player being injured, but the Jets rejected the offer.

Bradway said the

club has spoken to the agent for ex-Patriots CB Ty Law but nothing is imminent. Signing Law, who is reportedly seeking $7 million per season, appears to be a long shot.

RB Curtis Martin,

32, will have a similar preseason workload (20 to 30 carries) as last season, Edwards said. ... Edwards said he's eager to see competition at strong safety, cornerback, right tackle, tight end and defensive tackle. ... The team is high on rookie S Kerry Rhodes. ... Eighty-five players are on the roster.

07-22-2005, 07:21 PM

By Mike Prisuta
Friday, July 22, 2005

The Steelers made enough progress during negotiations with No. 7a draft pick Shaun Nua on Thursday that an agreement is anticipated by the close of business today.
Nua, a 6-foot-5, 280-pound defensive end from Brigham Young, was the 228th overall selection in the NFL Draft.

He would become the fourth Steelers draft choice to agree to terms, following No. 4 pick Fred Gibson (wide receiver, Georgia), No. 5 Rian Wallace (linebacker, Temple) and No. 6 Chris Kemoeatu (guard, Utah).

No. 1 pick Heath Miller (tight end, Virginia), No. 2 Bryant McFadden (cornerback, Florida State), No. 3 Trai Essex (offensive tackle, Northwestern) and No. 7b Noah Heron (running back, Northwestern) are unsigned.

Negotiations began this week with Miller's representation, but agent Tom Condon said Thursday it's still uncertain as to whether his client will sign in time to report to St. Vincent College on July 31 for the opening of training camp.

"I couldn't tell you," Condon said. "We're always working toward that, but I don't know. I wouldn't be able to characterize it.

"I would expect we'll continue to talk daily from here on in. Heath feel's great, he's 100 percent and he's looking forward to getting in and getting going."

As of yesterday afternoon only five players taken on the first day of the draft (rounds one through three) had agreed to contracts (two second-round picks and three third-rounders).

Some NFL executives are anticipating numerous holdouts as camps begin to open next week, but Condon doesn't consider the pace of negotiations across the league anything out of the ordinary.

"It's always late," he said. "It's always getting rushed at the end. I would say it's more typical than anything else."

The Steelers also consider investigating the possibility of signing wide receiver Hines Ward to a contract extension prior to the opening of camp a priority.

The Steelers opened negotiations with Ward in late April but no talks are currently being conducted.

Ward is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the 2005 season.

Also entering the final year of their contracts among starters are wide receiver Antwaan Randle El, nose tackle Casey Hampton, free safety Chris Hope, defensive end Kimo von Oelhoffen, cornerback Deshea Townsend and tight end Jerame Tuman.

Adam Schefter's "Around the League"


The only downside to the Colts' record-setting offense is paying for it. After re-signing quarterback Peyton Manning, wide receivers Marvin Harrison and Brandon Stokley, and offensive tackle Ryan Diem, the Colts now face an equally large obstacle in trying to retain wide receiver Reggie Wayne, who is heading into the last year of his contract. Wayne is going to want frontline wide-receiver money, and the Colts already are paying it to Harrison.

Wayne is one of the most well-respected players on the team and it's going to put the Colts in a challenging situation. They want to keep Wayne, but on a team desperate to bolster its defense, how do they find the dollars to do it? Sometime soon, the Colts and Wayne are expected to commence contract talks; there will be a lot of ground to cover. But skeptics doubted the Colts could work their salary-cap magic before.

Now they're going to have to find a way to do it again.


Don't be surprised if Michael Vick is throwing to a brand new pair of starting wide receivers when the Falcons open the season Sept. 12 against Philadelphia.

Many people around the league are expecting Atlanta's first-round pick in 2004, Michael Jenkins, will beat out Peerless Price, the receiver that cost the Falcons a first-round pick. They also are expecting this year's first-round pick, Roddy White, to beat out veteran Dez White, meaning the Falcons would have one of the youngest starting receiving tandems in the league. But it also would be one of the most talented.

Former Falcons first-round pick DeAngelo Hall has told some within the organization that Jenkins is going to surprise people this season with his speed, strength, toughness and production. Hall believes Jenkins is just waiting to explode.

As for White, the 27th overall pick in the April draft, he was one of the most electrifying players at the team's minicamps. He is aiming to catch 60 passes this season, and believes he can do it. And suddenly, the Falcons could be transformed from a running to a passing team.


Determined to get No. 1 overall pick Alex Smith into training camp on time, the 49ers have made arrangements with Smith's agents to meet face to face this weekend. Smith's agents, Tom Condon and his assistant Andrew Kessler, are scheduled to fly to the Bay Area at the end of this weekend to meet with 49ers contract negotiator, Paraag Marathe.

With 80 percent of the negotiations already completed, both sides are hopeful they will have no problems shaking hands on the final 20 percent. But that could be the difficult part.

There still are significant financial issues to finalize, but then, that is why Condon and Kessler are making the trip they are. The sides think they will have a better chance of getting it done in person.

All sides are shooting to have the agreement reached as early as July 25 so that the 49ers can announce the deal before they start training camp on the 28th and receive some of the positive publicity that mostly has eluded them this offseason.


Once Smith reaches agreement, it shouldn't be too long after before the No. 2 overall pick, running back Ronnie Brown, gets his deal done. But it's unlikely to be before then. Because in each of the past six years, the second overall pick has not finalized his contract until after the No. 1 overall pick did.

The last time the second overall pick got his deal done before the first overall pick was 1998, when Ryan Leaf signed with San Diego before Manning signed with Indianapolis.

The reason No. 2 picks wait is to see how the No. 1 pick's salary is slotted. And Smith's should be slotted in the next week, meaning Brown shouldn't be too late for the start of Dolphins training camp.

07-23-2005, 04:00 PM
04:43 PM CDT on Saturday, July 23, 2005 By Rick Gosselin


Priest Holmes is healthy. Again.

For the third time in his football career, Holmes is returning from a significant knee injury. He missed the 1995 season at the University of Texas with torn ligaments. Then he missed five NFL games with Baltimore in 1999 with a sprain and the final eight games with Kansas City in 2004 with a strain.

The Pro Bowl running back was on a record setting-pace when he suffered his injury at the midway point last season. He scored 15 touchdowns in eight games, which put him on track to break his NFL record of 27 in a season, set in 2003.

Holmes also was leading the league in rushing with 892 yards, so a second NFL rushing title also appeared to be within his grasp.

A healthy Holmes is arguably the best back in the NFL. But his goal in 2005 isn't to reclaim the top rung from Curtis Martin. Nor is his goal to win another rushing or scoring crown.

No, Holmes has altered his goals after spending the off-season rehabilitating his knee back home in Texas.

"There were a number of goals I set in years past in terms of yardage, touchdowns, long runs," Holmes said. "But right now, it's about the team. Being from San Antonio and seeing how the city was in an uproar about an NBA championship ... It reminded me how badly I want to win.

"In order for me to win, I truly need all 52 other guys on this team. It's not about individual goals. We've been able to achieve so many of those. But we fell short of the Super Bowl. So it's a team goal to win."

Holmes spent February through April rehabilitating his knee at the Spurs' training facility. He came to know Spurs stars Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Robert Horry. He also has come to appreciate how they go about their business as players in a team sport.

Holmes doesn't think it's a coincidence that the two NBA clubs with the best team concept, the Spurs and Detroit Pistons, played for the championship.

"These two teams actually tied in all the players on the court," Holmes said. "There was an unselfishness. I remember games when the Spurs would have 20 baskets in the first quarter and 20 assists.

"That's what we need here – make everything an assisted win. Having guys block down the field, knowing that you may be tired but you're still going to go make that extra block. Same with me. I could grab the guy [in pass protection] and ride him to the outside. But how about I just stone him at the chin and make sure Trent [quarterback Green] knows he's blocked?"

A healthy Holmes should help the Chiefs rebound from a 7-9 season. But it's his 52 teammates who will determine if the Chiefs can extend their season into February.

Here are some other thoughts and observations from around the NFL:

• The Cowboys won three Super Bowls in the 1990s. After each championship, the NFL sent the Cowboys on the road to open the following season. The Patriots have now won three Super Bowls this decade. After each of their championships, the NFL awarded the Patriots a home game to open the following season. This year, it's a Thursday night game against the Oakland Raiders.

• Don't expect the Philadelphia Eagles to blink on the threatened contract holdout by Terrell Owens. The Eagles won two NFC playoff games last January without Owens to reach the Super Bowl. The Eagles were a good football team before Owens arrived and they'll be a good football team after he leaves. Don't look for that to happen any time soon, though.

• Keep an eye on two backup quarterbacks: Kelly Holcomb at Buffalo and Luke McCown at Tampa Bay. Holcomb gives the Bills a safety net in the event J.P. Losman struggles in his starting debut. Jon Gruden traded for McCown even though the Buccaneers already had Brian Griese and Chris Simms on the roster. I sense that Gruden isn't enamored with either Griese or Simms.

• Oakland wide receivers Randy Moss and Jerry Porter will attract attention from defenses this season. So slot receiver Ron Curry will draw the third corner, and single coverage, on most plays. That means he'll be open a lot, and Kerry Collins likes throwing to him. Curry might not have the stats of Moss and Porter, but he could wind up being the Raiders' most reliable receiver.

E-mail rgosselin@dallasnews.com

No big deals for NFL rookies
Signings are few and far between
By Jerome Solomon, Globe Staff | July 23, 2005


The Patriots, Dolphins, and Bears welcome rookies to training camp this weekend, but as of yesterday, all was quiet on the NFL first-round draft choice front.

There is a general standard for NFL rookie contracts: the No. 1 pick signs first, the rest follow to almost slotted perfection.

The Patriots' top pick, Logan Mankins (No. 32 overall), will sign for significantly less than quarterback Alex Smith, the first overall selection by the San Francisco 49ers, but because Smith has yet to agree to a deal, the market isn't set.

Another reason for the holdup is the collective bargaining agreement. The favored method of signing players to six-year deals that allowed signing bonuses to be spread over that period for salary cap purposes isn't available because the labor agreement ends in 2008.

Still, with training camps at hand, a host of deals should be consummated in the next week. Just 10 of the 101 players picked in the first three rounds had signed.

''If you look at it from a historical standpoint, it's similar to the last few years," said agent Neil Cornrich, who represents safety Dustin Fox, the Minnesota Vikings' third-round pick. ''Expect the number of signings to increase dramatically in the coming days.

''The teams dictate when the players will sign, and the teams generally tend to get it done prior to training camp. And there's a trickle-down effect."

Cornrich said Fox, the nephew of former Patriots star Tim Fox, would almost certainly be under contract by the time the Vikings open camp next Friday, as ''negotiations are proceeding smoothly."

As one of the last teams to report, the Vikings have the luxury of taking a wait-and-see approach. And with the hefty signing bonuses shelled out each year, teams like to hold onto their funds as long as possible.

The Patriots have been forced to be more expeditious because of their early reporting date.

''It's been slow around the league," said agent Kevin Omell, who represents seven picks from the April draft. ''Teams don't really come down to business until there's that training camp deadline right around the corner . . . some urgency."

Although big-money high picks usually sign near training camp, Omell said he's been surprised at the lack of movement with second-day picks (fourth through seventh rounds).

Just three of Omell's clients -- the Patriots' Ellis Hobbs (20th pick of the third round) and two seventh-round picks -- have signed. His second-, fourth-, fifth- and sixth-round clients remain unsigned.

Hobbs reported with the Patriots' rookies Wednesday, then agreed to a deal to begin camp on time. With six of its seven 2005 draft picks under contract, the Patriots have the best signing percentage in the league.

Only Mankins has yet to join the fold, but sources familiar with the negotiations said a deal is likely in the near future.

Mankins was the last pick of the first round, as was tight end Benjamin Watson in 2004. After an extended holdout, highlighted by the firing of his agent, Watson eventually agreed with the Patriots to a six-year contract that included a $2.7 million signing bonus.

Mankins said shortly after he was drafted he didn't envision a holdout anywhere near the situation Watson fell into a year ago.

''We're not too worried about that; we think [Mankins's contract] will be done before camp begins," a team source said.

The Patriots' rookies hit the practice field Monday, but unlike minicamp, unsigned players are not allowed to participate.

07-23-2005, 05:36 PM
Broncos will learn which personality will be on display

By Lee Rasizer, Rocky Mountain News
July 23, 2005


The off-season trade sending Gerard Warren to the Denver Broncos for a fourth-round draft pick in essence was a two-for-one deal.

The team obtained Warren.

It also acquired "Big Money."

The two are one and the same, yet completely different entities. And, ultimately, which side of the defensive tackle's personality shines through most might determine whether his acquisition from the Cleveland Browns was more than Denver bargained for, or a bargain, beginning Thursday when the team begins its 2005 training camp.

"There are two personas there," acknowledged Jeremy Green, who worked in the Browns' pro personnel department during all four of Warren's pro seasons, three as its director. "Hopefully, for the Broncos' sake, they get Gerard Warren."

At his core, Warren is a small-town country boy hailing from Raiford, Fla. - population 300.

To kill time as a youth he would hunt, shoot and fish. He chased pigs and cows for fun.

On the football field, he trailed quarterbacks with similar glee.

He helped his high school team, Union County, become a powerhouse that amassed three consecutive championships and 40 consecutive wins, and was an honor student.

Warren later became a dominant force at defensive tackle at the University of Florida, where he described football as "just like waking up in the morning and brushing my teeth" and life outside the sport something he had to get a "grip on."

He was so good he became the first overall defensive player drafted in 2001, after his junior season.

In other words, he lived up to his bold nickname.

"Big Money," as his prep line coach dubbed him because of his pro potential, ended up bagging just that - $12 million in bonuses from the Browns as the third overall selection.

Not bad for a kid who hadn't been outside his home state until landing in the Southeastern Conference.

Warren, for better or worse, soon became the face of the Cleveland organization as the first pick of the Butch Davis era. It was a distinction borne of Warren's draft pedigree and, more than anything else, the fact he was playing for a young Browns team.

In hindsight, it probably was a role for which he wasn't entirely suited in his early 20s, with money to burn and a taste for nightlife.

Later, with Cleveland consistently fielding a losing team, his public image morphed into something altogether different than spokesman.

"He became the poster child for everything bad in Cleveland," said Andre Patterson, Warren's position coach for his final two seasons there and now a Broncos assistant.

Some, but not all, of that image, Warren brought upon himself. People close to him call him articulate, smart and funny, and sharp in his knowledge of his chosen profession.

He'll quietly donate 16 pairs of shoes to his high school or show up to make pregame speeches during his off week.

But, every so often, Big Money inevitably would butt in and create problems.

"The other side was the side that gained street cred," Patterson said of Warren's dual personality. "And he didn't grow up that way."

Warren might prance around the locker room singing profane rap lyrics or blast his boom box when he didn't want to be bothered with leadership issues, which infuriated some in the Browns complex who didn't want that to be the image the organization portrayed.

He was popular to many fans in Cleveland for his outspoken nature and sincere love for the city. But when he returned from a productive rookie season overweight and unable to duplicate his success, he had created an image through the media as an unmotivated underachiever that has been hard to shake. He was arrested on a gun-possession charge in 2001, further tarnishing his image.

"The Cleveland press had already tagged him with, 'He's lazy on the field' and all that stuff before I got there," said Patterson, who joined the Browns staff in 2003. "That stuck no matter what I said. And I'd tell them he's never been that way with me."

Some teammates took umbrage at what they perceived as preferential treatment, something Green said Warren did get but isn't unusual for certain players on any NFL team.

But even Warren's attempts at accountability and leadership backfired when Big Money was doing the talking.

In a word . . . trouble

A comment aimed at Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger last season was meant to rally a flagging team. Warren, in front of television cameras and whirring tape recorders, paraphrased one of the hip-hop songs he loved by rapper Trick Daddy, "Kill the head and the body's dead."

In retrospect, they were Warren's famous last words.

"I called my father that day and told him I don't know what's going to happen in Cleveland but they just threw me out of the boat, so fasten your seat belts, because there's going to be a ride, I think," Warren recalled.

Lost in the translation of the Roethlisberger tumult was Warren's explanation that "if you can rattle the head, which is the quarterback on every team, then the body, which is the team, can't function."

Nevertheless, Browns ownership seethed, putting out a disclaimer the following day distan- cing the organization from Warren's words.

"Any time you mention 'killing,' that's a bad word, even though it's the lyrics from a song," said Charles Warren, Gerard's father. "In the National Football League, lyrics like that put you in a position to be an outcast. You can't just say those kind of things."

Davis' resignation two weeks later removed a key ally, and speculation began that the end of Warren's stay in Cleveland was near. When interim coach Terry Robiskie, another Warren backer, didn't get the full-time job as head coach, the lineman's tenure was winding down.

It didn't help that a new regime wanted to clean house of perceived negatives. Cleveland's switch to a 3-4 alignment under Romeo Crennel didn't fit Warren's game, and Patterson's departure to Denver made the decision for the new Browns staff a no-brainer.

"The impression among the Browns was that I was the only guy that could control him," Patterson said. "And I know that was told to Romeo."

Big Money officially had become devalued currency.

"He hasn't been a productive player. He has not played up to his ability," Green said, summing up Warren's problems with the Browns. "Some of that is Gerard and Gerard's immaturity. Some of that was the system we used in Cleveland."

Warren accumulated 113 solo tackles, 37 assists and 16.5 sacks in four seasons, certainly not eye-popping statistics.

Learning from the past

But even stocks that hit rock bottom can rebound suddenly. That was the Broncos' thinking, especially since the price was low - they did pick up a $1.3 million roster bonus Cleveland declined to pay - and Warren figures to be motivated by his sudden downfall and contract status. He's in the last year of his contract, with the final season of his original deal already voided.

"Personally, I feel like I'm out on bail right now," Warren said earlier this month. "Nothing guaranteed. Just go out and play this season and rewrite your whole history in the NFL. Those guys didn't want me in Cleveland, and I found a new home here. So automatically, when that took place, I was like, 'It's time.' "

Charles Warren recalled a conversation with his son a couple of weeks ago: "He said, 'I'm going to go out and show these people in Denver that I am who I am. And I will show them that I know football.' "

Warren still has some qualities of a blue chipper. He will turn 27 on Monday and possesses agility, strength and quickness rare for a player weighing about 330 pounds. The Broncos hope he can draw upon his Cleveland experience to avert mistakes.

"He's the type that once you sit down and talk to Gerard and tell him what you want - and you have to keep your thumb on him, not footballwise, but letting him know what's at stake and everything else - he'll do it," said Rod Broadway, Warren's defensive line coach in college.

Perhaps most important if Warren is to succeed in Denver is that he has a group of veteran players surrounding him that can kick him in the rear if things go awry, and the respect is such that he'll listen.

"I think in Denver he's got to keep his mouth shut, follow the lead of a guy like Trevor Pryce and really start playing up to his abilities," said Green, who will join ESPN as an analyst this season. "Gerard is talented, but Gerard is very immature. He's a great kid. He's harmless. He's not a bad kid or a kid that's going to be in trouble running the streets. He's a good 'ol country boy. But I think he really needs to work on his focus and maturity.

"I think this is a great move for Gerard Warren. He's got a chance in a new city in a defense that better suits his ability, and I think you'll see a different Gerard Warren than you saw in Cleveland."

Patterson said that if Warren had leadership to lean on from the beginning, he might never have gotten the rap he now has to shake.

"When he came here, one of the things I told him is to leave 'Big Money' in Florida," Patterson said. "And since he's been a Denver Bronco, he's just been him. He's just been Gerard Warren. And I think he's flourished from that."

07-23-2005, 05:38 PM
High hopes for a while

Warren's tenure in Cleveland started with similar positive overtones.

Some fans were upset when the team passed on LaDainian Tomlinson in the draft, but once Warren played well in his first year, the logic of pairing him with 2000 first-round pick Courtney Brown, to form a potentially dominating defensive-line tandem, seemed to make sense.

But in 2002, Warren reported to camp at 350 pounds. His lack of conditioning contributed to a sharp decline in performance. And Brown, beset by injuries, rarely was at his side thereafter. (In an interesting twist, Brown, who Warren replaced as the face of the Browns, is playing in Denver, too. He'll line up on the same front four as Warren.)

A switch in defensive coordinator from Foge Fazio to Dave Campo in 2002 also meant a change in Warren's job description, from a penetrating, attacking tackle to taking on double teams as a nose tackle and keeping bodies off Browns middle linebacker Andra Davis.

Warren has had similar responsibilities the past two seasons and, at times, has played well.

Last season ended with the Browns allowing Warren to go back to his attacking style. And, Warren's dedication improved, perhaps providing more evidence Denver might be getting him at the right time. He reported to camp 27 pounds lighter last off-season before a torn pectoral muscle set him back, and Broncos coaches have lauded Warren's dedication in their off-season program.

"Really, we give a guy three or four years as a defensive linemen to develop," said an AFC personnel director who has studied Warren on tape. "It's hard for a young kid to come in and dominate. So I don't think he's over the hill. I think he's just coming into it."

Still, this was the third overall pick in the draft, and in Cleveland, expectations were higher.

When Warren was drafted, one Cleveland columnist wrote, "No pressure, but where the Browns drafted him he'll have to become synonymous with Cleveland Browns football as Warren Sapp is with Tampa Bay to justify the pick."

That type of pressure has been part of Warren's life since he was 14 and told by his high school coach, Robby Pruitt, he would be the player who would win him championships.

Back then, Warren would get free admission to basketball games and complimentary food at restaurants for being a prep star, but he also was held to a different standard because of his talent in a town where everyone knew him.

At Florida, Warren was watched just as closely - in one episode he was suspended for marijuana use, and in another he was handcuffed after a brawl with University of Miami players on Bourbon Street in New Orleans before the 2001 Sugar Bowl - and emerged on the other side a multimillionaire.

The common thread between high school and college was consistent winning.

"Until I went to Cleveland," Warren said.

His Browns teams won only 25 of 65 games, and "no matter how much money I get or how much money I make, it could never pacify losing," Warren said. "It was exhausting mentally," and created "a negativity around the building" that the franchise never shook.

In Warren's view, he tried to take on a leadership role to help reverse that thinking but was rebuffed in the locker room, where cliques emerged and "pretty much destroyed the team and brought coach Davis' career to an end."

Warren said the Browns as an organization "didn't accept their responsibility in trying to bring a championship to the city," especially when comparing it to his experience with the Broncos, where the focus is winning the Super Bowl without "excuses" or "power trips" between players and coaches.

"I wanted to win so bad that I was going around trying to demand the best out of players . . . and I could never really find what I was trying to tap into," Warren said. "But at the same time, a lot of the stuff was being shoveled under my name as what was the problem. I was just trying to find a way to win."

Warren often looked to Patterson for counsel about how to get his hands around the leadership issue.

"But to be a leader you have to be a consistent person," Patterson responded. "Your teammates have to see who you are. You can't be up and down."

"That's one of Gerard's biggest problems," Green said. "He worries too much about what's going on around him instead of worrying about Gerard and getting Gerard to play well. You can't be a 'me' guy. . . . And I think if he concentrated more on being the best player he could be and playing up to his abilities, he could probably bring other people with him."

Now, 'I'm the underdog'

Warren isn't necessarily being counted on as a team leader in Denver. The Broncos already have linebacker Al Wilson, wide receiver Rod Smith, quarterback Jake Plummer, cornerback Champ Bailey and safety John Lynch, among others, making up the team identity.

If Warren is to become a star now, it will be because of his on-field contributions.

Being just another guy, "is a blow to the ego, but a relief," Warren said. "I'm the underdog."

Patterson predicts Warren still can be the star he was projected to be - if he can be consistent week to week, in his personality and on-field performance. Just don't judge him solely on sacks.

"They got a steal," Broadway said of the Broncos. "Once it all clicks for him and that light goes on and he wants to dominate, they're going to be pleasantly surprised by what this guy can do on a football field.

"Don't judge him by the past. What's done is done and you can't change that. Just get to know the guy and see the beauty in him."

Jones: Cowboys can't waste time
Cowboys owner says camp is crucial to becoming competitive
12:16 AM CDT on Saturday, July 23, 2005
By JEAN-JACQUES TAYLOR / The Dallas Morning News


Jerry Jones said he doesn't know how many games the Cowboys are going to win. Or whether they'll make the playoffs. Or if they'll beat the 20-1 odds and make it to the Super Bowl.

But he does expect Dallas to be a lot more competitive than it was last season, when the Cowboys stumbled to a 6-10 record that included six losses by 15 points or more.

That's why he spent more than $30 million in signing bonuses to secure five free agents. And that's why he used five of the club's first six draft picks on defensive players he expects to contribute this season.

"I wouldn't have brought in some of the veteran players in free agency if I didn't believe that if we got it right we'd have a chance to compete," Jones said. "I wouldn't have done that if I thought we were just in a rebuilding mode. It's about competing with Philadelphia and the top teams."

To do that, Jones said the Cowboys can't waste any time during training camp. The Cowboys report to Oxnard, Calif., an hour north of Los Angeles, on Thursday, and go through their first practice Saturday.

Quarterback Drew Bledsoe must use the time to familiarize himself with receivers Keyshawn Johnson, Terry Glenn, Quincy Morgan and tight end Jason Witten. Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer must use that time to further acquaint himself with the 3-4 defense and get his team prepared to play it.

And coach Bill Parcells must concern himself with finding a right tackle, a free safety and myriad other things.

"After having the disappointment and surprise of last year, I'm optimistic about the season. We've had our best off-season since I've been here," Jones said.

"We need a good start, and we need to have the best camp since I've been here, because we're changing some schemes on defense," he said.

07-23-2005, 07:04 PM
Its easy to take one sentence out of a post and make it have different meaning.

The short sightedness I refferred to was the fact that when a player says " I need to take care of my family" most fans think about his kids and wife and parents. His immediate family. Whe in reality the player is thinking of his future generations. Do you think Bill Gates is still pursuing money for his immediate family or do you think Trump made his TV show because his daughters needed new cars? No they are tryiong to make as much money as possible so that they can make sure thier future generations can have it easier. This is not only perpetraited by fans but also the media outlets as well. I can't count on two hands how many times I have heard Rome or the Brick go on and on about how some players whether it be Spreewell or TO need to take care of thier families. They just rip them apart without giving thought to the future generations of the family.
** These things seldom work out. Many of us are descended from bloodlines such as King James or the Emperor Napolean and have little to show for it.**
You can talk about how you wouldn't go against your word all you want but if your emplyoer decided come time to get your paycheck that he wanted to pay you a dollar less an hour next week and you can either renegotiate or you can be released, how would you react?
** They would have to have that discussion with my business agent, my wages are set by a CBA.
If we're talking I'm making 1.5 mil next year and they want me to work for 1.3 mil, I'd probably bite the bullet for the team.
Let's imagine you've hired a contractor to build your dream house for 450k, all you can afford. About 30% into the job, you're talking and he points out that things have gone very well here, and he loves working for you, but a similar house is being built on the next block, but not as well and the other contracror is receiving 700k for his work. Your contractor says he wants another 300k or he's keeping what he's drawn so far and you can finish it yourself. Fair, or no?

07-24-2005, 07:30 AM
Posted on Sun, Jul. 24, 2005

Drive-thrus, BlackBerrys and microwaves prove we are an instant gratification society. * As Veruca sings in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, "Don't care how, I want it now." Football fans are no different. Their teams go into training camp with questions and they want answers immediately, as if the Cowboys will really know if linebacker Demarcus Ware can transition to the NFL after a week of sweating in Oxnard, Calif. * No, answers (real answers) take time. * What you can get immediately are five key questions for the Cowboys as they head to camp.

1 Is Drew Bledsoe still a good quarterback?

The Bills put their money on "No" while the Cowboys doubled down on "Yes." If the Quincy Carter-Chad Hutchinson-Vinny Testaverde montage has taught us anything, it is that winning is tough without a good quarterback. Only time will tell who is right.

2 Is there a competent right tackle on the roster?

If the Cowboys do not improve the offensive line, it doesn't matter if Bledsoe plays like Roger Staubach or Troy Aikman. Bledsoe is good at many things, but scrambling out of trouble is not among them. The only glaring hole is right tackle. They tried underachiever after underachiever the past couple of seasons, and it is the same cast of characters (Torrin Tucker, Kurt Vollers, Jacob Rogers, Ben Noll) vying for the job this season.

3 Can life after Darren Woodson get any worse?

Life was bad without the stalwart safety last season. A back injury prevented him from playing a single down, and the Cowboys never found an adequate replacement. Woodson is really gone now - retired - and the Cowboys need either Izell Reese, Lynn Scott or Keith Davis to fill the hole. Or else the Cowboys are going to find out the only thing more damaging than losing Woodson for a year is not replacing him the year after.

4 How long will it take to adjust to the 3-4 defense?

The alignment is new to almost everybody on the defense, including coordinator Mike Zimmer. It is not incredibly complex to pick up, but there is a difference of knowing what to do and instinctively doing it. One of the best tests of how they are adapting is what they do when they are forced to change calls at the line of scrimmage.

5 Is Julius Jones ready to become the No. 1 back?

Not only does Jones want to show his 819 yards in basically seven games were no fluke, but he wants to prove he can do it over an entire season. Good intentions, however, never carried an offense and certainly never gutted out

100-plus yards on a Sunday in late November when every part of your body hurts. That is when the Cowboys are going to know if they have the real deal, not in training camp.

Myth vs. Reality

Every team tells itself lies before training camp. Look at the Cowboys; they convinced themselves last year that whoever emerged from the Jemeel Powell-Pete Hunter position battle would be the answer at right cornerback. Neither was, of course. What follows are two myths and two truths regarding the Cowboys as they go into training camp.

Two Myths

1 If the Cowboys do not find a right tackle, Larry Allen is a cure all.

There is no doubt Allen would be an upgrade over what the Cowboys trotted out at right tackle at times last season. But do not confuse this with a best-case scenario for Allen or the Cowboys. Allen is a Pro Bowler, but he is also older and time does not make us faster. Tackle requires more mobility because of the types of players they are expected to block. Allen could do the job, but the Cowboys would be thrilled if they were not forced to make the move.

2The Cowboys are not being fair to defensive end Greg Ellis.

There are good guys in the NFL and then there is Greg Ellis. He is the best of the good guys. The idea, however, that the Cowboys are doing him wrong by switching to the 3-4 and asking him to play end is slightly misleading. He hasn't exactly been a regular at the Pro Bowl in the 4-3. The Cowboys' defense has been horrible four of the past five years, including the debacle that was last season. The switch in defenses has nothing to do with Ellis. It is about making the team better.

Two Truths

1 Wide receiver Quincy Morgan needs to be good for the Cowboys to be better.

The fate of the Cowboys does not rest on Morgan, certainly not the way it does on quarterback Drew Bledsoe. But they need to be able to rely on their third wide receiver (a luxury they have not been afforded in recent seasons) to open up the offense and to create openings for Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn. Morgan gets a do-over for last season because he was hurt, but if he is ineffective again, it does not bode well for the Cowboys' offense.

2The Cowboys are going to be asking an awful lot from their first-round picks.

It does not matter how high Demarcus Ware (No. 11) and Marcus Spears (No. 20) were drafted. Nor does it matter how much money they are making (a lot). The fact is they are taking their first kick at the can in the NFL and as an added bonus must adjust to a new defensive scheme. And while their learning curve is going to be steep, the Cowboys cannot be patient. They are counting on them to start and be impact players.

Bill's doghouse

Now that cornerback Pete Hunter has finally procured a trade from the Cowboys to the New York Jets, the line to coach Bill Parcells' dog hotel has shortened for the moment. There are a few stragglers who, with a poor training camp, could be replacing Hunter at the front of the line. Now serving:

No. 1 Jacob Rogers OL

No matter how the Cowboys spin it now, they drafted Rogers to be a right tackle and his failure to meet this objective is embarrassing for those who chose him.

No. 2 Torrin Tucker OL

Words of wisdom for Tucker: Do not show up for training camp as overweight as you did for minicamp.

Projecting the starters
To say the Cowboys have a few changes on their roster is a lot like saying pop star Michael Jackson changed his nose a bit. It does not do justice to the extent of the transformation. The Cowboys are going to have eight new starters from the end of last season. What their starting lineups would look like if the season began today:


RT Kurt Vollers

RG Marco Rivera

C Al Johnson

LG Larry Allen

LT Flozell Adams

TE Jason Witten

WR Keyshawn Johnson

WR Terry Glenn

FB Darian Barnes

RB Julius Jones

QB Drew Bledsoe


DE Greg Ellis

NT Jason Ferguson

DE Marcus Spears

OLB Demarcus Ware

OLB Al Singleton

ILB Dat Nguyen

ILB Bradie James

CB Anthony Henry

CB Terence Newman

S Roy Williams

S Izell Reese

07-25-2005, 09:26 AM
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spent more than $32 million in signing bonus money to bring in four starters via free agency: quarterback Drew Bledsoe, cornerback Anthony Henry, guard Marco Rivera and nose tackle Jason Ferguson.

Add in the healthy return of receiver Terry Glenn and tight end Dan Campbell and a draft class that features two first-round picks, and it's understandable why Jones views this off-season as the team's best in more than a decade.

Still, the Cowboys will report to training camp in Oxnard, Calif., on Friday with some holes to fill.

The team must find starters at right tackle, free safety, two outside linebacker positions and inside linebacker, plus find punt and kickoff returners and a backup quarterback.

Of course, that's assuming four-time Pro Bowl selection La'Roi Glover won't be battling Ferguson at nose tackle.

But this is football and some things are best decided on the practice field.


The contenders

Kurt Vollers, Torrin Tucker, Ben Noll, Rob Petitti and Jacob Rogers

The breakdown

Much of the pre-camp talk has been about the possible move of guard Larry Allen to right tackle. It's a reasonable option; Allen has played tackle before, and the Cowboys have more confidence in backups at guard (Ben Noll and Stephen Peterman) than the current possibilities at tackle. The Cowboys view Allen as a last-ditch option at tackle and would prefer that someone step up and claim the starting role. Keep an eye on 2004 second-round pick Rogers, who followed a dreadful rookie season with a solid off-season. But don't count out the rookie Petitti.


The contenders

Al Johnson, Andre Gurode

The breakdown

Johnson's play at center was one of the few bright spots during last year's 6-10 season. He started all 16 games, got better each week and seemingly solidified a starting spot for years to come. Gurode started the last two seasons at right guard but was so inconsistent that the Cowboys replaced him with free-agent signee Marco Rivera. Gurode played his best football with the Cowboys when he started at center as a rookie in 2002. He is bigger than Johnson and that could be key in 2005. The Cowboys face several teams who run the 3-4 defense, making the ability to handle a wide-body nose tackle even more important.


The contenders

Izell Reese, Keith Davis, Lynn Scott and Justin Beriault

The breakdown

Jerry Jones said finding a replacement for Darren Woodson at free safety was the least prioritized goal of the off-season. He said the team would find someone to play opposite strong safety Roy Williams. Reese is the favorite because he's done it, starting 16 games the past two seasons with the Bills. Jones said the Cowboys know Reese can run and cover and he can tackle. Don't count out Keith Davis, a special-teams demon who has a knack for finding the ball. The Cowboys don't want to lose him on special teams, but if he's the best free safety, he will play there.


The contenders

Drew Henson, Tony Romo

The breakdown

Henson has $3.5 million in guaranteed money and the title of fan favorite. The former baseball player had so much potential in college that he started in front of three-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady. It's now time for Henson to show more than potential. He worked hard in the off-season on a new throwing motion and appears ready to take the next step. Romo, however, won't go away. He knows the offense better than Henson and has impressed the coaches with his moxie. He will get an equal shot at the backup job.


The contenders

Bradie James, Scott Shanle

The breakdown

This should be James' job, considering the Cowboys tried to give him Dexter Coakley's job last season and now Coakley is gone. James didn't measure up last season. He will have to beat out Shanle, who impressed the coaching staff with strong performances in place of an injured Al Singleton at the end of last season. Dat Nguyen is the starter at the other ILB position in the 3-4 defense.


The contenders

Kevin Burnett, Al Singleton, Demarcus Ware, Kalen Thornton

The breakdown

The Cowboys didn't draft Ware with the 11th overall pick to sit him on the bench. He could be an impact player -- especially as a pass rusher -- and the Cowboys will give him every chance to do that, although Thornton will go into camp lining up with the first team. Things won't be so simple on the other side. The veteran Singleton, who played on Tampa Bay's Super Bowl championship team, might not be flashy, but he is as solid as they come and doesn't make mistakes. Solid and smart also describes the rookie Burnett, who is younger, bigger and faster than Singleton.


The contenders

Terence Newman, Marion Barber III, Zuriel Smith, Tyson Thompson, Woody Dantzler, Lance Frazier, Jamaica Rector

The breakdown

The Cowboys have seven players competing for two spots and are not sold on any of them. The good news is that the added depth at cornerback will allow Newman, left, more opportunities as a punt returner along with Frazier. Smith, Dantzler and Rector could likely handle both jobs, but it's questionable if they will make the team. The speedy Thompson is a kick-return candidate if he can make the team. Barber, a rookie, is expected to make the team as a backup running back, making him the possible favorite to handle kickoff returns.

07-25-2005, 08:00 PM
By Pat Kirwan NFL.com Senior Analyst


July 24, 2005) -- NFL camps are opening, and for the next 45 days the most important decisions have to be made in order for your favorite team to have the best chance to be successful.

For example, it's easy to say Philip Rivers' two-week holdout during Chargers camp last year opened the door for Drew Brees. It's never that black and white when it comes to making the right decision. There would have been a number of teams that would have shoved Brees to the sideline two weeks after a young, high-first-round pick like Rivers came to camp.

The Chargers used camp to follow principle No. 2: Start the right players when the season opens up based on what you found out in camp.

I'll get into the 10 guiding principles for having a productive camp in a moment, but for now, keep in mind that not every team in the NFL gets the most out of camp. Some teams actually go backward in the 6-7 weeks of intense training. I get to a lot of training camps, and they are not all the same.

I left the following 10 principles on a sheet of paper taped to my desk when I worked for the Jets. I read it every day of camp to remind myself of why we were working so hard and to have healthy discussions with our coaches about achieving these principles. Ask yourself once a week for the rest of the summer how your favorite team is handling these guidelines.

1. KEEP THE RIGHT PLAYERS AT THE LAST CUT: There are 80-plus players headed to each NFL training camp. It is not easy to keep the right 53 and cut the other 30 or so players. Coaches see players differently than personnel people. A coach wants guys who are ready right now and a front-office man is inclined to see long-range potential. There has to be constant communication about the potential last 10 players to make a roster and the last 10 to be cut. The last thing any team wants to see is a man it released go on to shine for another team. Don't keep a draft pick because he was a draft pick. Keep him because he will make you better.

2. START THE RIGHT PLAYERS WHEN THE SEASON COMES: The Brees example is the most obvious from last season. This year, a team like Miami will face a similar challenge with its quarterback situation. Practice time and competitive situations with the exact same personnel surrounding A.J. Feeley and Gus Frerotte have to be carefully planned in order to put the right starters on the field for opening day. If any team comes out of camp and one or two of the top 22 players on the roster are on the bench because the club didn't find out enough during camp, it doesn't have the best chance to win. It took courage for the Jets to start Wayne Chrebet as an undrafted rookie when there were some high draft picks at his position, but we did it and he made us better.

3. KNOW WHAT YOUR PLAYERS CAN DO: So many coaches claim their system is the best but the truth is you must put your players in the best situation to do what they do best. A number of teams are making the move from the 4-3 defense to the 3-4 package. It will not work out for every team in the experiment. At what point does a head coach say, "This is a mistake"? When I worked with Ron Erhardt -- one of the best offensive coordinators in the NFL at the time -- I asked him in June if his playbook was completed. He said, "My playbook won't be done until the end of camp, when I can see what our players can really do."

4. DON'T TRY AND WIN PRESEASON GAMES WITH SCHEME: You will hear a lot of coaches say they believe winning is a habit and that it starts with preseason games. I will not argue that winning is important, but at what cost? If your team is creating game plans for preseason games and blitzing opposing quarterbacks with starters while the opposition has third-string players in the game, it can give a false sense of confidence to everyone in the organization. I always felt I would like to see our backups step up late in a game and demonstrate they could win. I'll always remember Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy when he led the Buffalo Bills to four consecutive AFC titles. He wasn't trying to win preseason games to teach winning. Try and execute your base offense and defense and evaluate all 80 players.

5. MINIMIZE INJURIES AND PRACTICE SMART: More teams lose the division title on their camp practice fields than in head-to-head competition. Injuries are a fact of life in the NFL, but with the salary cap it is imperative that injuries are minimized. More coaches are practicing at night when it is cooler, and are limiting back-to-back practices in full gear. Contact is a necessity at times, but as one All-Pro linebacker said to me, "We are so geared up when we get to camp that we hit too much." It's a fine line, and the people running each team need to modify practices as they see fit.

6. DON'T CUT THE TOP FOUR SPECIAL-TEAMS PLAYERS: When the end of camp draws near, position coaches will realize they might get "stuck" with a position player they don't want because he is a very good special-teams player. A fifth wide receiver who is a dynamo on "teams" but is really the sixth best receiver can find himself cut if there isn't a priority on special teams. Keeping at least four special-teams players over better backup position players is very important. I remember Bill Parcells' first speech to the Jets when he said we will be very good on special teams right away while we develop our football team. Not every head coach sees the value of a group of players who go on the field for 25 plays a game.

7. GET YOUR BEST PLAYERS SIGNED LONG TERM: For me, every preseason camp would start with a look at the players in the final season of their contracts and to prioritize the guys we wanted signed to long-term deals. I wouldn't get them all extended, but with the risk of injury and the competition from other players in camp it was an excellent opportunity to negotiate with them. As much as most players want to make as much money as they can, most did not want to be at practice every day in the last year of their contract.

8. STUDY AND COMPARE YOUR TALENT TO THE LEAGUE: Too often, coaches believe they have the only players they want to coach in camp. The truth is: Some team is going to cut a player who is better than someone you intend to keep on your roster. As quickly as I could assess where we were weakest and then really study borderline players on other rosters, the better prepared we were to upgrade the roster. The trick is getting the head coach and his staff to go along with that idea. Most coaches hate the idea of releasing a player they've spent a lot of time teaching, even if his replacement is a better player. It is a reasonable point of view, but not always the right one.

9. DON'T UNDERPREPARE YOUR STARTERS: There are only 16 games in an NFL season. It shocks me how often teams that start out poorly claim they are "still working on their timing." I know of one excellent NFL franchise that tracks and records every practice play and preseason play. As its computer man said to me, "We got caught one year not getting our starters ready and had an awful start. Now we have a formula and we stick to it."

10. KNOW WHERE TO FIND STREET FREE AGENTS: If a team enters camp with no salary-cap space and little knowledge of where to find available talent -- if need be -- then it will wind up wasting valuable camp practice time. I've been to a number of camps in the third week of preseason where there were so many receivers and running backs with sore hamstrings and injuries that the team couldn't even practice. Sometimes you just have to bring in some bodies to keep things going forward. It might be easy to say, "Why bring in a wide receiver who has no chance of making the team?" It's an understandable point, but it's the defense that suffers -- it can't get a decent look from the passing game because there aren't enough players to run the scout team. There are always a few guys who played Arena football all spring who are in game shape and are ready, willing and able to sign on a moment's notice.

As camps open and start to run their course, keep these rules of the road nearby to see how your team is moving along. It's not enough to just keep practicing and going through the motions for the next 45 days. There needs to be a plan and some results for your team to be ready for the season.

07-26-2005, 05:45 PM
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


With talks for a new contract going nowhere, Hines Ward plans to pay a visit to the Steelers' offices this week to discuss his situation with his coaches and possibly management.

Agent Eugene Parker declined to say yesterday whether Ward would report to training camp with the rest of his teammates Sunday night at St. Vincent College in Latrobe. Parker would not discuss the negotiations between himself and the Steelers on a contract extension for Ward, who is signed through the 2005 season. The Steelers also declined comment.

Ward planned to boycott the start of training camp a year ago to protest his contract situation, but changed his mind after coach Bill Cowher placed a phone call to him a day before camp opened. Ward will earn a salary of $1,668,750 this season -- the same as '04 -- on a contract he signed before the 2001 season.

Ward has made the past four Pro Bowls -- more than any Steelers receiver in history -- and he eclipsed the Steelers previous record of 85 receptions in a season three times. Yet his salary cap value of $2,171,950 last season ranked 37th among the NFL's wide receivers.

Ward, 29, does not necessarily want to be the highest-paid receiver in the game but wants to be among them, according to a source close to him.

Randy Moss led the parade of wide receivers last season with a salary cap value of $8,882,727, with Marvin Harrison second at just over $8 million. Only three other receivers topped the $7 million salary cap list in 2004 -- Isaac Bruce, Eric Moulds and Terrell Owens.

After Ward made waves about his relatively low pay last year, Steelers president Art Rooney publicly promised to make him a priority in 2005.

"We said he'd be our priority and that's still the case," Rooney said at the NFL meetings in March. "In terms of signings, I would expect that should be our big signing."

Yet five days before players report to camp, not only is there no contract, there has been little progress. Roosevelt Barnes, Parker's associate, spoke with the Steelers yesterday about Ward, the first time in about a month any talks took place at all between them. No progress was reported. Barnes also represents Steelers draft picks in the second and third rounds, Bryant McFadden and Trai Essex, both still unsigned.

The Steelers have not had a player under contract boycott camp in the past decade. Last year, Plaxico Burress skipped a mandatory May minicamp and all of the team's voluntary spring workouts but reported to training camp on time. He turned down an offer from the team last summer and signed with the Giants as a free agent this year after the Steelers made no contract offer after the season ended.

Steelers players have signed contract negotiations during camp and, at times, right up to the start of the season. The Steelers have a stated policy that they will not negotiate contract extensions once the regular season begins unless the sides are close enough that a deal is imminent.

Camp starts, Price doesn't
Jenkins ahead of veteran WR 'to stir the pot'
Steve Wyche - Staff
Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Flowery Branch --- It was hot during the Falcons' first day of training camp Monday, but the temperature was merely a footnote.

High-priced veteran wide receiver Peerless Price was replaced in the starting lineup by second-year upstart Michael Jenkins, setting the stage for what coach Jim Mora said he hopes is a fierce competition that not only brings out the best in both players, but also allows him to put the best target for quarterback Michael Vick on the field.

"We want to stir the pot a little bit, and it seemed the right time to do it," Mora said. "We want to create some competition, and we figured if we really wanted to do it, don't go with what's comfortable. Right now the plan is to keep Mike there and let him compete."

Jenkins' promotion comes after an offseason in which the Falcons considered releasing Price --- who is going into the third year of a seven-year, $35 million contract --- but opted to keep him because of the lack of experience among the receiving corps. Should Jenkins, a first-round draft pick last season, win the job, there is a chance Price, who joined Brian Finneran on the second unit, still could be released.

"Does this put Peerless behind the eight ball? Yeah," Mora said. "But I think he's up to the challenge."

Jenkins caught just seven passes as a rookie, earning most of his playing time on special teams. Price has been criticized for his lack of production for a player expected to be a No. 1 receiver. Price had 45 catches for 575 yards and three touchdowns last season.

Jenkins and Price battled through exhaustion during the 2 1/2-hour, season-opening practice, with Price ignoring a trainer's suggestion to take a few plays off, Mora said.

With this startling change on the typical feel-good day of the preseason, Mora clearly has set the tone that the Falcons aren't about to rest on last season's berth in the NFC championship game.

There is the chance that the Falcons could open the season with two new, inexperienced starting wide receivers. First-round draft pick Roddy White, who did not practice because he has yet to come to terms on his contract, is expected to challenge Dez White for the other starting job.

Roddy White, Mora said, is the one Falcons rookie who could start after an impressive offseason. Team officials are optimistic that White's deal could be completed in the next few days, especially because the first wave of first-round picks were signed around the league Monday.

"I've never really been one to worry about who wasn't here," Mora said. "If you want to pin me down, I think every day [Roddy White] misses is a day he can't get back. He missed 20 or 30 repetitions today he's never going to get back, 20 to 30 opportunities to learn."

Michael Boley, an outside linebacker, joined fourth-round selection Chauncey Davis, a defensive end, in finalizing contract terms Monday. Boley was excused from practice to handle a personal matter. He is expected to sign his deal before taking part in today's morning practice.

Davis, who is believed to have signed a three-year deal worth $1.2 million ($300,000 signing bonus), participated in the majority of drills, missing only the first few minutes while completing his paperwork.

Roddy White is the only one of Atlanta's eight draft picks who is unsigned. The Falcons cleared enough space under the salary cap to sign all its rookies by restructuring the contract of guard Kynan Forney.

As for other off-field issues, standout defensive tackle Rod Coleman declined to comment about his recent arrest on misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges after the driver of his truck was pulled over in DeKalb County for allegedly speeding. Coleman allegedly cursed at police officers during the traffic stop, resulting in his arrest, according to the police report.

Team owner Arthur Blank said the run-in was embarrassing to Coleman, but he supports him.

"He's a very good person and I believe he'll learn from that," Blank said. "It's not a disruptive kind of thing. . . . He made a mistake and maybe said a few words he should not have to an officer, but it's the kind of stuff, hopefully, as he continues to mature and take on more responsibility with the Falcons and life, he'll learn from that."

07-26-2005, 05:58 PM
Posted on Tue, Jul. 26, 2005
Chiefs trying to make him take it easier

The Kansas City Star


They told Trent Green to take a vacation. He came back looking like the star of a workout video.

Some guys make it easy on Chiefs offensive coordinator Al Saunders. When Priest Holmes is hurt, he listens to his body and rests. Green, in typical quarterback mode, keeps going. He went from the Chiefs’ 7-9 season to the weight room to 10 added pounds of muscle to throwing, throwing, throwing.

His shoulder eventually ached. The coaches eventually intervened.

“I think he’s like Seabiscuit,” Saunders said. “You’ve got to pull him back sometimes. He’d work himself to death if he could.”

That will not happen at training camp, at least not when Saunders and coach Dick Vermeil are watching. Vermeil said Monday that the Chiefs will monitor and control Green’s repetitions during camp, which starts Thursday in River Falls, Wis.

“It depends on how he feels,” Vermeil said, “but it could mean he’ll throw in the morning and all of a sudden take the afternoon off. It could mean all of a sudden he doesn’t throw at all one day. We run a massive offense, and he needs reps in all of it, but we’ll monitor it so he doesn’t get too many.”

Green has made 64 straight starts, the longest streak in Chiefs history for quarterbacks, and Vermeil worries how Green can keep the streak going. Green, who just turned 35, considers himself in the prime of his career.

At times, Vermeil said, it almost seemed as if Green were trying too hard in the offseason. He compared him to a pitcher who’d gone over his pitch count. Green just felt as if he had to do something after 2004, which started with big expectations and ended with a thud.

In hindsight, Green knows he needed a break.

He showed up Monday at Arrowhead Stadium, talking about his latest charity venture, wondering whether one of the NFL’s most explosive offenses can keep it going for another year. The Chiefs led the league in total offense in 2004, a first in franchise history. It didn’t matter much because the defense ranked second to last.

“I didn’t realize this,” Green said, “but I was told in the offseason that we were the oldest offense in the league. I’m glad they didn’t tell us last year because we would’ve had it in our minds.

“I think there’s a sense of urgency. … From an organizational standpoint, they made it very clear in the offseason by going out and getting veteran (defensive) guys. They made it clear we’re trying to get it done now.”

Green was held back during most of this summer’s offseason workouts. He took a short vacation at the end of minicamp but got back to work last week, throwing to Chiefs receivers Marc Boerigter and Chris Horn, who are coming off of surgeries.

Green said he’s worked out with his receivers five of the last six days.

He hates watching — Green said he’d rather take all of the reps — but is ready for camp, limitations and all.

“I feel good,” Green said.

Saunders will have to take his word for it.

“He’ll just play through pain,” Saunders said. “That’s him. He is just so competitive. He believes so much in his role and this job, and some of that is the quarterback being a tough guy. He is. That’s one of the things that makes him so great.”

July 26, 2005
Coach expects James at camp
Dungy's most recent conversation with RB, in mid-June, indicated 'all systems are go.'

By Mike Chappell


Tony Dungy expects running back Edgerrin James to report to training camp on time because he hasn't heard anything to the contrary from the Indianapolis Colts' career rushing leader.

Players under contract must report by 2 p.m. Wednesday to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind. James has been under contract since signing, and guaranteeing, his one-year, $8.1 million tender as the Colts' "franchise" player in March.

"I'm just assuming all systems are go," Dungy said Monday, adding that he and James last shared a telephone conversation in mid-June.

"The last time I talked to him, I told him, 'Hey, call me if something unusual is going to transpire.' I think he's going to be ready to go."

Drew Rosenhaus, James' agent, told The Associated Press last week that James had decided how he was going to handle reporting to training camp but would not divulge James' intentions.

While in Indianapolis earlier this month for a charity basketball game as part of Indiana Black Expo, James was equally as evasive. He said he would talk with the media when he arrived in Terre Haute for training camp, but wouldn't confirm when that would be.

However, James gave an affirmative nod when pressed whether he would be on time for the start of camp.

Since he's under contract, James would be subject to a $6,000-per-day fine for missing camp.

Speculation that James might boycott the start of camp apparently is an offshoot of his dissatisfaction with settling for the one-year franchise tender in lieu of a long-term contract. He skipped the Colts' mandatory three-day minicamp as well as their voluntary four-week summer school.

Throughout the process, James has kept a low profile, neither verifying nor insinuating he would fail to report on time for training camp. Even so, the rumor mill has churned wildly.

"People ask you that question like they have some insight that he's not coming," Dungy said. "You'll ask where (the speculation) comes from and nobody can say, 'Well, he said he's not coming.'

"Usually the way I answer the question is, 'Do you have some information that would lead me to believe that he's not coming?' People say, 'No, not really.' "

More picks sign

The Colts signed two more draft picks and agreed to terms with a third Monday.

Signing three-year contracts were safety Matt Giordano, a fourth-round pick out of California, and defensive end Jonathan Welsh, a fifth-rounder from Wisconsin. Financial terms were not immediately available.

Also, guard Dylan Gandy, a fourth-round pick out of Texas Tech, agreed to terms on a three-year contract, according to his agent, Scott Smith.

Jackson's agent 'optimistic'

The agent for Marlin Jackson, the Colts' first-round draft pick, is optimistic his client will be signed in time for the start of training camp.

"We're talking a lot and we're hoping to get something done (today)," Doug Hendrickson said. "We are not miles apart. Things can change and I've got other players where I could tell you we're miles away.

"But with this one, we're not."

Jackson was the 29th overall pick in the April draft and is one of five Colts' picks who have yet to sign or agree to terms on a contract. The cornerback can anticipate a contract that exceeds the one wide receiver Michael Jenkins signed with Atlanta as the 29th pick in the 2004 draft. Jenkins' signed a five-year, $6.4 million deal that included a $3.3 million signing bonus.

07-26-2005, 07:05 PM
Like RMANCIL with his draft blog, I just want to give props to ftwbolt for all his efforts on this offseason news blog.

It's been a GREAT one stop shopping site for many of us to keep up with news around the league.

Thanks !!!

07-26-2005, 07:53 PM
** They would have to have that discussion with my business agent, my wages are set by a CBA.
If we're talking I'm making 1.5 mil next year and they want me to work for 1.3 mil, I'd probably bite the bullet for the team.
Let's imagine you've hired a contractor to build your dream house for 450k, all you can afford. About 30% into the job, you're talking and he points out that things have gone very well here, and he loves working for you, but a similar house is being built on the next block, but not as well and the other contracror is receiving 700k for his work. Your contractor says he wants another 300k or he's keeping what he's drawn so far and you can finish it yourself. Fair, or no?

Fair the contractor would have every right to ask for more. Whether or not he gets it is another issue entirely. Would he deserve it? certainly. Would I give it to him? Apparently not because if i already gave him all I could afford then I obviously could not give him more. If i had more money to give and the market dictated that his pay should be that amount, then he would get his money. I would end up losing more if i didn't. I would have to hire another contractor who might be of worse quality for approximately the same amount or more. You get what you pay for. If I didn't do my research and saw that the market for building "my house" was higher than what was agreed upon then I would be an idiot not to expect to pay close to market value for the work. My father was a contractor for 40+ years and you never really knew how much a job would cost. Building supplies go up and down so does employee wages (people do quit, get sick) when this happens the amount of time goes up which costs more money. Never believe the first estimate. It will always end up costing you more.

Go Bolts!!!

07-26-2005, 08:03 PM
Like RMANCIL with his draft blog, I just want to give props to ftwbolt for all his efforts on this offseason news blog.

It's been a GREAT one stop shopping site for many of us to keep up with news around the league.

Thanks !!!

Couldn't agree more Shamrock - BOTH have been great contributors here and my wife says thank you both for helping to keep "him" sane during the off-season!

07-26-2005, 08:12 PM
sonorajim - so now you know you can't use common sense with Gdub. ;)

07-27-2005, 09:48 AM
So now I suppose I know who really is the nicest moderator on the board throwing insults around. You really should erase that off of your tag there ole buddy. Just because some of you "elder" clansmen have been around long enough to swap theories with Aristotle doesn't mean there isn't some small shred of truth in what other people say.

I thought since some of you have been around since the inception of the NFL you might have come into contact with a situation much like sonorajm has come up with and how unlikely or how absurd it would be to not do research enough to know that it would cost you more than the first estimate. I guess ya'll missed out on that bit of common sense. Smug little wink goes here suggesting I know everything.

Go Bolts!!!

07-27-2005, 10:32 AM
So now I suppose I know who really is the nicest moderator on the board throwing insults around. You really should erase that off of your tag there ole buddy. Just because some of you "elder" clansmen have been around long enough to swap theories with Aristotle doesn't mean there isn't some small shred of truth in what other people say.

I thought since some of you have been around since the inception of the NFL you might have come into contact with a situation much like sonorajm has come up with and how unlikely or how absurd it would be to not do research enough to know that it would cost you more than the first estimate. I guess ya'll missed out on that bit of common sense. Smug little wink goes here suggesting I know everything.

Go Bolts!!!

And I don't think you should be throwing around the word "clansmen," either.

07-27-2005, 11:32 AM
What about Good ole boys club? Is that better? This is meaning I was going after.

07-27-2005, 12:34 PM
A shocking development from Pats camp :rolleyes:. Ya think this might have been the reason why they signed Chad Morton a few weeks back?

Patriots: Johnson, Dwight placed on PUP
by Fanball Staff - Fanball.com (http://www.fanball.com/index.cfm/sct.3/yahoo.1)
Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Receivers Bethel Johnson (http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/players/6381/) and Tim Dwight (http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/players/4343/) have both been placed on the preseason physically unable to perform (PUP) list, according to the Boston Herald. Both are listed as having foot/ankle injuries.


El Relámpago
07-27-2005, 03:08 PM
You mean Dwight is hurt? NO freakin' way! WOW! Didn't see that one coming. LOL

07-27-2005, 03:52 PM
Patriots | Contract Update: Mankins
Wed, 27 Jul 2005 12:34:32 -0700

Mike Reiss, of the Metrowest Daily News, reports the details of New England Patriots OL Logan Mankins' five-year, $6.4 million contract. The deal included a $2.25 million and he also will earn a 2005 roster bonus of $350,000. There is a 2006 option bonus worth $1.4 million, meaning his total bonus figure is $4 million. Mankins' base salaries are the following: $230,000 (2005), $370,000 (2006), $500,000 (2007), $600,000 (2008) and $700,000 (2009). Those figures don't include an escalator in 2009, tied to playing time, which could increase the base salary that year.


This is important, because it gives V. Jackson one more "slotting" figure to use in his negotiations. My bet says Jackson is signed before close of business on Friday.

Colts | Hayden Agrees to Terms
Wed, 27 Jul 2005 12:13:57 -0700

Mike Chappell, of the Indianapolis Star, reports the Indianapolis Colts have agreed to terms with second-round draft pick CB Kelvin Hayden on a four-year contract. No financial terms were disclosed.

26 58 Green Bay Murphy, Terrence WR - Unsigned
27 59 Atlanta Babineaux, Jonathan DT - Signed
28 60 Indianapolis Hayden, Kelvin CB - Signed
29 61 San Diego Jackson, Vincent WR - Unsigned
30 62 Pittsburgh McFadden, Bryant CB - Unsigned
31 63 Philadelphia McCoy, Matt OLB - Signed
32 64 Baltimore Terry, Adam OT - Unsigned

07-27-2005, 03:57 PM
1,000th post in this thread! Haha...but I hope Jackson really gets moving on his contract. I don't remember many 2nd round picks holding out of TC...

07-27-2005, 04:50 PM
Like RMANCIL with his draft blog, I just want to give props to ftwbolt for all his efforts on this offseason news blog.

It's been a GREAT one stop shopping site for many of us to keep up with news around the league.

Thanks !!!

Couldn't agree more Shamrock - BOTH have been great contributors here and my wife says thank you both for helping to keep "him" sane during the off-season!

Thanks Guy's, Glad to Help the Charger Community.

Negotiations with Brown on hold

Posted on Wed, Jul. 27, 2005


Serious negotiations with running back Ronnie Brown, the No. 2 overall pick in the draft by the Dolphins, were on hold, according to two sources within the NFL Players Association.

The sources said both the team and agent Todd France were waiting to see a final version of the contract that quarterback and No. 1 overall pick Alex Smith signed with San Francisco on Tuesday.

France could not be reached for comment and has not picked up calls by numerous media outlets during the past two weeks. Dolphins coach Nick Saban indicated he hoped the deal Smith signed would be the impetus to get negotiations rolling with Brown.

''I really don't have any update on any status,'' Saban said regarding Brown. ``Hopefully [Smith's] signing in San Francisco will give us a baseline for what we need to do to make a deal to get him here. I want you to know that everybody in this organization is working very hard to try and do that.''

If the reports of Smith getting $24 million in guaranteed money are accurate, the Dolphins will likely have to offer in the area of $22 million in guarantees for Brown. Smith's total guarantee was a 20 percent improvement on what Eli Manning, the No. 1 overall pick in 2004, received from the New York Giants.

If that percentage increase is to be used for Brown's deal and based on the $18.3 million that Oakland offensive lineman Robert Gallery received last season, the guarantees would be just less than $22 million for Brown.

The Dolphins had been hoping to guarantee Brown less than $20 million, but that seems unlikely at this point and could force an extended holdout.


Rookie defensive tackle Manuel Wright learned a tough lesson about professionalism Tuesday.

Wright showed up to the Dolphins' only practice of the day wearing only shorts and a jersey.

The problem is the rest of the team was wearing full pads and helmeta. Saban spotted Wright and was incensed.

The coach ripped into Wright for approximately 15 seconds before sending him back into the locker room to get dressed for practice. Wright, 6-6 and 329 pounds, was visibly shaken and could be seen wiping away tears as he headed back into the locker room. He returned to practice several minutes later.

''As you know, young players need to develop an attitude where they need to be professionals and we have to help them with that,'' Saban said.

``Maybe we need to get on them a little at times, and I got on him about what we wanted him to try to do to work himself through it and he responded well to it.''

Check out the picture of David Boston